In today’s Washington Al Kamen notes just how improbable a Hillary Clinton victory is at this point:
Let’s face it. It’s over. Teamsters President James P. Hoffa may have provided the last bit of muscle Wednesday with his union’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). Barring a serious meltdown in the debates — or a sensational revelation — Obama will be the Democratic presidential nominee this fall.
The punditry agrees that a victory for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is at best improbable at this point. Ever-helpful Bill Clinton says that if Hillary doesn’t win Texas and Ohio, she’s toast. Our most recent poll shows a virtual tie in Texas and Clinton with a seven-point lead in Ohio.
Problem is, looking at the numbers, Clinton has to win both of them big. Obama has a lead of 150 elected or “pledged” delegates, according to NBC’s calculation (The Washington Post uses a different formula to count). Clinton needs to win 58 percent of all remaining pledged delegates simply to get her lead back, NBC political director Chuck Todd notes. But that’s hypothetical. The reality is worse.
If Obama wins the remaining states he’s favored in, such as Vermont, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oregon, then Clinton will need to win 65 percent of the vote in places such as Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, Todd said.
Most observers are beginning to focus on the numbers of elected, or pledged, delegates because they’ve concluded that those are almost sure to be the only ones who will matter — unless Clinton can persuade the superdelegates at the nominating convention to overrule the voters and destroy the Democratic Party once and for all.
Before that happens, I’ve got to believe that someone, somewhere will tune the Clinton’s in to the reality that they’re facing.
Meanwhile, things aren’t looking so good for Hillary on the superdelegate front. Yesterday, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold announced that he was supporting Barack Obama and that just seems to be part of a larger trend of superdelegates moving to back Obama:
The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama.
In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.
The result: He’s narrowing her once-commanding lead among these “superdelegates,” the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.
Clinton still leads among superdelegates — 241 to 181, according to the AP survey. But her total is down two in the past two weeks, while Obama’s is up 25. Since the primaries started, at least three Clinton superdelegates have switched to Obama, including Rep. David Scott of Georgia, who changed his endorsement after Obama won 80 percent of the primary vote in Scott’s district. At least two other Clinton backers have switched to undecided.
None of Obama’s have publicly strayed, according to the AP tally.
And they’re not likely to.