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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Narrowing Window

Adam Nagourney of The New York Times has a good summary of Hillary Clinton’s current strategy for winning the Democratic presidential nomination:

She has to defeat Mr. Obama soundly in Pennsylvania next month to buttress her argument that she holds an advantage in big general election states.
She needs to lead in the total popular vote after the primaries end in June.
And Mrs. Clinton is looking for some development to shake confidence in Mr. Obama so that superdelegates, Democratic Party leaders and elected officials who are free to decide which candidate to support overturn his lead among the pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses.

But the growing unlikelihood of a “re-do” or a delegate deal for MI and FL is a big obstacle to the second goal, which may be the key to an HRC claim to superdelegate supremacy.

The fight over Florida and Michigan is just partly about delegates. Victories in new primaries in those states are among the only realistic ways for Mrs. Clinton to erase Mr. Obama’s advantage in the total popular vote.
Mr. Obama’s edge over Mrs. Clinton is 700,000 votes out of 26 million cast, excluding caucuses and the disputed Florida and Michigan results. About 12 million people are eligible to vote in the remaining contests.
Aides to the two candidates said even with the best possible showing for Mrs. Clinton in the states ahead, it was hard to see how she could pass Mr. Obama without Michigan and Florida.

That’s why (as Ed Kilgore has argued here) it’s in Clinton’s interest to accept absolutely any deal she can get on delegates for FL in particular, to preserve her 300,000 popular vote win there. And that may be why the Obama campaign seems increasingly committed to the status quo, despite the risks that involves for the general election.
The other big thing to watch is whether Obama quickly recovers from the polling “swoon” that seemed to hit him when the Jeremiah Wright controversy exploded. If his speech on the subject was as effective with the public as it was with most of the media, that should begin to happen soon.

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