01 June 2008

End Game

The upshot of the way the Democratic Party's rules committee decided to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations is as follows:

Obama needed 41 delegate votes to clinch the nomination; Clinton needed 244.

Today, Obama needs 64 votes; Clinton needs 240.5.

There are 291 delegates remaining.

Obama continues to lead in both pledged delegates (a lead mathematically impossible for Clinton to overcome today and Tuesday) and superdelegates.

The decision to seat Florida as half-strength was unanimous and unlikely to be overturned. The complex resolution of the complex situation in Michigan was approved by a 19-8 margin and will probably hold, but fueled intense ire from the Clinton camp, despite the fact that it improved Clinton's situation compared to the status quo.

Fifty-five pledged delegates are being allocated in today's Puerto Rico primary, and that vote will favor Clinton. The last two contests, on Tuesday, with 31 pledged delegates are likely to favor Obama.

I suspect that after Tuesday's pledge delegates are allocated, that Obama will need about 24 votes out of 201 superdelegates, while Clinton will need about 191.5 votes. Indeed, the Obama count may be a bit smaller than that, because Obama has been picking up a superdelegate or two a day for the past couple of weeks. There is no indication at all that the remaining superdelegates favor Clinton by a 9-1 margin.

Once Tuesday's contests are over, I suspect that superdelegates will rapidly jump on the Obama bandwagon in the hope of ending the contest before it becomes more destructive to the Democratic party's general election chances. Disputes over the Michigan delegation will soon become a moot point.

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