Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Finally! Finally, right?

This isn't quite definitively definite yet but it certainly seems that the Clinton's have just about run out of options at this point, if not campaign cash. Obama took North Carolina by a solid 14 points and while she was apparently able to eke out a win in Indiana, the consensus of the media and much of the blogosphere is that he will now be the nominee despite her continued protestations. Of course, mathematically that has been the case for about a month but as I've said before, Clinton has been running on the perception of still having a chance at victory more than anything else.

In fact, Obama will pick up a net gain of 13-15 delegates tonight which effectively cancels out the 12 she gained from her solid win in Pennsylvania last month. Andrew Sullivan lays out the situation much more succinctly than myself:

There is no calculation that currently gives the Clintons a majority of the popular vote. There is now no mathematical possibility of them getting more delegates. Obama has won by far the most states. He has raised far more money; he has 1.5 million donors, mainly small sums. He has crushed her among new voters and young voters; and as a black politician, his support spans all races and classes. And recall: he is a freshman senator with a very funny name against the biggest brand name in American politics and a worldwide celebrity whose chief campaigner was a former two-term president of the United States.
So for all intents and purposes, this thing looks to be decided; Obama started this primary race against near impossible odds and has now seemingly surmounted them, all the while maintaining his dignity, cool and class. His post-election speech was inclusive and positive, emphasizing unity within the Democratic party and for America itself, while Clinton seemed a bit dejected, making a half-hearted appeal for more money but also, and to her credit, making a promise to (hopefully) support the Democratic nominee for president. Now the only real question seems to be how she is going to decide when to concede and how to do so while saving as much face and political capital as she can for her own future use.

Of course I'm happy that it looks like we can finally start to move past this seemingly endless primary process, partly because my nerves are just about completely frazzled but more so because I've been seriously worried about what effect an Obama loss (or more accurately, a Clinton win) would have had on the under-40 wing of the Democratic party. More than gender, race or class (with the exception being among black voters), age has been the decisive factor in determining how this race would play out and everything I've read or heard over the past few months told me that these kids were going to walk away from the political process in droves were it to appear that old school, back room political deal-making had taken the final choice out of the people's hands. I'm not saying that I agree that it would be the smart thing for them to do but now thankfully, it appears that this will not come to pass.

I can't bring myself to unclench just yet of course, as the real race has yet to really begin in earnest but I at least have the feeling that the infighting amongst the political left in this country will soon finally cease for the most part and that we'll be able to look forward to a substantive race focusing on important policy differences and actual issues in the near future. I've lost much respect for John McCain over the last eight years but I still think that he's at least capable of running a relatively clean general election campaign; of course, the 527's are another matter.

So I'm done with politics for this evening; again, a friendly welcome to any new readers we may have gained as a result of the link from The Daily Dish today. Here's hoping you find something here that is worthy of your valuable time and I promise to do my best to make that hope a reality. Oh, and if I'm completely wrong and this thing does keep going all the way through to the convention in August, all I ask is that there are enough vodka martinis in the world to get me there in one piece. I take mine very dry, with a twist of hope.


Anonymous said...

Great post and it is time for the Dems to quit eating their young!

JBW said...

Thanks, NMR. This primary season has been one of the most stressful for me since I started actually caring about politics again; here's to some actual Dem unity at long last.