Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clinton wins PA but falls short in margin of victory

Yesterday was Hillary Clinton's last best chance to catch up to Barack Obama, and she fell short.

Depending on who you ask (CNN or the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania) Clinton's margin of victory is somewhere between 8.51% and 9.39%. Clinton spin doctors and some media commentators have been doing some creative rounding in order to award Clinton the "double-digit victory" she needed, but did not earn. That does not change the fact that Clinton failed to rack up the numbers she needed to even begin catching up to Barack Obama.

The "double-digit" goal was a phony goal in any case. To realistically have a chance of catching Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton needed to get roughly 63% of the vote in yesterday's contest (a roughly 26% margin of victory). Clinton's 8.51% to 9.39% was nowhere near what she actually needed.

Pennsylvania, with its 158 pledged (i.e. elected) delegates, was the last so-called "large state" on the primary/caucus schedule. There is only one state remaining on the primary/caucus calendar with more than 100 pledged delegates up for grabs--North Carolina with 115 delegates--and Barack Obama is on track to win North Carolina with a margin of victory of 15-20%, effectively erasing whatever Clinton gained yesterday, both in terms of delegates and popular vote.

Sadly for Democrats, the only real winner in yesterday's contest was John McCain. As the Democratic contest is stretched out further, more bad blood is generated between the supporters of Obama and Clinton. Unfortunately, it may be that the process has progressed beyond the point where leadership can heal the wounds that are being generated every day. The Democratic Party's elected leaders and super delegates should have acted to end the process before it became a blood feud. June may very well be too late.

Cross posted at Raising Kaine and Daily Kos.

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