Taking the lion’s share of the delegates, Hillary Clinton has won the nomination contest in Puerto Rico. Now only two more contests lie between now and, more or less, the end of the primary season.
Barack Obama is said to be the likely winner of South Dakota and Montana, the final two states. According to the latest poll I’ve seen for Montana, which was conducted from May 19 to the 21st, Obama leads Clinton 52-35. Unfortunately, I can’t find a poll for South Dakota any newer than about two months ago. Anything that old, is, I think, unlikely to be very reliable at this point.
The Obama team has said they think they’ll end up getting about 30 more delegates between PR, MO, and SD. If this is true, they’ll need about. I think, given today’s delegate allocation of 17 to him, and being somewhat generous with the next two contests (I’ll give him 9 on MO and 10 on SD), he could end up getting 36 delegates. Going by CNN’s current total count, adding 36 means he’ll have 2106 after Tuesday night. Under this scenario, he’ll need 12 superdelegates to swap over to or declare support for him. This is assuming no more give him an endorsement between now and Tuesday night. Under these circumstances, the numbers really are stacked against Clinton.
So, given the math, what is her endgame? Personally, I would suggest that she hold off her concession speech until he reaches that magical number, 2118. I know some of you out there think that this would just show unnecessary stubbornness, but I sort of admire the tenacity Clinton has shown in this primary season. She shares this quality with Ron Paul, who is a man with the odds against him about a hundred-fold compared to Clinton. Given past trends, I think that this is the most likely course of action she’ll take. However, with reports saying that Obama could very well get the final support he requires within 24 hours of the final results, I don’t think we’re going to have to wait long to hear that speech.
Speaking of that concession speech, what should she put in it? For starters, it could include an adamant call to the party to unite behind Obama. The party needs it. And Clinton can provide it. Second, a statement that she’s going to do her best takes to get him elected. And finally, if I were her, I’d include an impassioned plea to be selected as the running mate. I’m not saying the pairing is ideal, but she would be silly not to try for it. She has, in fact, already done it in previous speeches.
Of course, even if Obama does reach 2118 shortly after Tuesday, she could opt to continue campaigning for the full seating of Michigan and Florida and not concede until she has it. That could mean taking it all the way to the convention. In this case, I think she becomes, well, there is no other phrase for it, a sore loser. She needs to face the fact that she supported the Michigan and Florida sanctions until she began losing the nomination. She also needs to realize that they met her halfway, and that is the nature of negotiation. And if she can’t accept that once Obama wins, that is the mark of a sore loser.
I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, though, and like to think that Clinton is a lot smarter than that. I do predict a very nice concession speech sometime shortly after Tuesday.
On to the final primaries…