Lanny J. Davis
Former special counsel to President Clinton, and supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign
After the votes are in from Puerto Rico tomorrow and South Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will be able to make a facts-based case that they represent a significant majority of grass-roots Democrats. Chances are Sens. Obama and Clinton will virtually split the more than 4,400 delegates—including Florida and Michigan—elected by more than 34 million people over the past five months.
Sen. Clinton has already won the most votes, but there is controversy over including the over 300,000 votes from Michigan, since Sen. Obama was not on the ballot (by his own choice). But if Sen. Clinton wins a substantial victory in Puerto Rico tomorrow—with an expected record turnout exceeding two million voters—she could well end up with more popular votes than Sen. Obama, even if Michigan’s primary votes are excluded.
Worst case, she could come out with a 2% deficit in elected pledged delegates. But that gap can be made up, if most of the remaining 200 or so unpledged superdelegates decide to support Sen. Clinton as the strongest candidate against John McCain—or if others committed to Sen. Obama decide to change their minds for the same reason. A number of superdelegates previously committed to Sen. Clinton later announced support for Sen. Obama, so it’s certainly possible that, when confronted with growing evidence that Sen. Clinton is stronger than Sen. McCain, they might switch back.
The final argument for Hillary comes down to three points—with points one and two leading to the third.
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