Monday, March 03, 2008
There's the saying, it ain't over till it's over. Well, it certainly ain't over... yet. On the eve of not-so-super-Tuesday-but-very-important-Tuesday-nonetheless....the Hillary Clinton camp is hoping for a double-win in the key states of Ohio and Texas to not only keep her campaign alive, but to thrust her back into the lead. Those two rich states offer up a bounty of 334 delegates, while the smaller Vermont and Rhode Island have 36 delegates up for grabs. In the latest polls, Clinton leads in Ohio and Rhode Island, Sen. Barack Obama leads big in Virginia, and there's a virtual dead-heat in Texas.
Right now Clinton's trailing Obama by about 150 or so delegates, depending upon who's doing the counting. And because of the way the Democratic Party allots its delegates proportionally--unlike the GOP's winner-take-all system--the math experts believe the hill is way too steep for Hill to climb going forward, even if she wins Ohio and Texas on Tuesday. But it's not all simply about "delegate math."
Here's what's most interesting: If Clinton succeeds in winning Texas and Ohio, and Pennsylvania thereafter (which she is likely to do), she'll be adding those three major prizes to New York, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts and California...among others. What this indicates is that she, not Obama, has carried the big Democratic states; the states that the Dems historically win hands-down. The states a Democrat must win in order to beat his or her Republican rival. While Obama's certainly had an impressive run racking up wins all over the country, the simple fact is, states like Kansas, Mississippi and Idaho and others are Republican bastions and will likely stay that way in the general election. Now, his supporters will of course say that come November, if he's the nominee, he will pick up the big states that Hillary won. And while they could be right, the party is so split that we can't be sure. But even so, and way before November 4th, the issue is what happens come convention time when, after a likely delegate deadlock, Hillary's narrative could be that (a) she's the one with the momentum; (b) she's the one who's got the big, national states behind her; and (c) is the one who's best positioned to beat the GOP's John McCain. Not a terribly unconvincing scenario, and one that might resonate very well with the super-delegates, who could drop Obama like a hot Idaho potato and push her over the top. Remember, super-delegates exist solely to ensure victory for the party. To them, come August, Obama's lead in overall delegates and states may not be nearly as significant as Hillary's. And if that's the case, the annointed-one may not be so annointed after all.
To be sure, if we stopped the presses today, Obama looks golden. Seems to be the inevitable nominee. But this year is like no election in recent memory. The landscape's way different, the stakes way higher, and the party way more split than ever. And as an old wise man once said, never underestimate a Clinton. Let's see what happens Tuesday night before we fit Obama for his inaugural suit...
On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.