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Peaked Too Soon?

Amid the fact that Obama's having a bad week, and not jumping ahead in the polls as conventional "wisdom" dictated, it's useful to note that he's not only not president yet (despite his play acting at it with the seal and the overseas visits), but that he's not even the Democrat nominee. I will continue to remind people that regardless of what Hillary! says about supporting him, actions shout where words whisper.

She did not withdraw from the race, and she did not release her delegates. Obama does not have enough "pledged" (i.e., derived from primary victories) delegates to get the nomination--he needs the votes of superdelegates who had previously committed to him in June, but they are still free to vote however they wish in Denver.

If he continues to make gaffes, and look weak, and lose support of the yout' who were supposed to be his big ace in the hole, and Obama fatigue sets in, there may be a lot of buyers' remorse among the once-enthusiastic Democrats. The stage is once again set for a very exciting convention in Denver, in which die-hard Hillary! supporters, despite her demurrals, will put her name in nomination and demand a roll-call vote. And those superdelegates will once again, and finally, be faced with a very ugly choice--go with a demonstrably weak candidate, and mollify the black constituency, or go with the winner of the latter part of the primary, and risk tearing the party apart (not to mention putting up a candidate with continuing high negatives), perhaps complete with mile-high riots. And the worse he seems to be doing, the harder the choice will be.


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Stephen Kohls wrote:

I find it hard to believe that this would actually happen. Even the die-hard Hillary supporters must realize that win or lose, they would seriously fracture the Democratic party.

Of course, it would make for great television...

Leland wrote:

Apparently Clinton is sending up a trial balloon.

"I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected. I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified," Clinton, D-N.Y., said at a California fundraiser last Thursday

At the same time, Obama is moving to make it much easier for Clinton to win.

Getting things in order before the Denver convention later this month, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) sent a letter Sunday to the Democratic National Committee Credentials Committee urging them to give a full vote to the Michigan and Florida delegations.

I think the DNC would be a disaster if things played out as Rand predicted. Then again, polls are definitely going the wrong way for Obama, who should be well 10 points ahead now, rather than statistically even. He will get a convention bounce, but so will McCain. If you consider the 15 point bonus from the press coverage, then Obama looks really bad.

Everyone should remember what the entire purpose of DNC super delegates. If Obama falls too far behind McCain prior to the convention, he may be branded an unwinnable candidate. At that point, the super delegates should vote for whom they think has the best chance to win.

Mike Puckett wrote:

Always keep the Bradley/Wilder effect in the back of your mind when you read these polls.

I suspect Obama's support is being overstated by 3-5 points at least.

Jack wrote:

I agree.

Hillary is a political animal. She knows an opportunity when she sees it. This is why she bowed out in the way she did.

She probably ran the odds that Obama would have a monumental "gaffe" or as perhaps may be happening now, be cut down by thousands of smaller ones and came to the conclusion that she might be able to get back in.

It is foolish to dismiss a Clinton and think they are beaten, especially when the primaries were this close.

Hillary can still paint herself as the Cassandra of this election. One wonders if it will be before or after November.

Arthur wrote:

Of course the best* Presidential campaign ever would have to have the best** convention ever***!

* most fun to watch
** It'll take some work to beat 1968. Yes We Can!
*** in the TV era.

Sam Dinkin wrote:

Clinton has been steadily dropping on, but is still trading at 5 cents on the dollar to Obama's 60 and McCain's 38 (the sum exceeds 100--105 from all candidates--because there is incomplete arbitrage). So Rand's theory is handicapped 12-1 by the punters. I'd say it might be more likely than that because the betting has been lagging the polls perhaps because Obama's overseas support is stronger than Clinton and McCain's and people bet what they want slightly more vigorously, but that's offset by over betting on long shots.

Aric wrote:

Also, from what I understand, after the first roll-call vote, if no candidate gets >50% of the vote, *all* of the delegates are free to vote however they'd like. If a few hundred superdelegates came together and voted for a third candidate (Gore has been mentioned as a possibility for this scenario), no candidate would get 50% of the vote, and that third candidate might be able to grab the nomination.

I'll make popcorn.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on August 6, 2008 1:22 PM.

Dumbing Down was the previous entry in this blog.

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