Given that I declared an end to the era of the Clintons right after Iowa, only to eat my words a few days later in New Hampshire, I’m somewhat hesitant to write off Hillary’s chances of winning the nomination. But I will say that right now, she certainly has her work cut out for her.
After last night Barack Obama has attained a 41 delagate lead, according to Real Clear Politics, even when you include her advantage among superdelegates who can still change their votes. Among actual delegates won, he’s up 125. Next week, an additional 94 delegates are up for grabs in Wisconsin and Hawaii, and Obama is poised to take a bulk of them. Hawaii is his native state and Wisconsin is a very liberal state with a huge college population. I just looked at Clinton’s schedule through Friday, and it doesn’t even look as though she’s contesting Wisconsin, because all of her time will be spent in Ohio and Texas. Those two huge states that vote on March 4 have 334 delegates, to be sure, but given the proportional allocation rules on the Democratic side, Clinton will not only have to win, but win big to be able to catch Obama in the delegate race. And she’ll have to do it while he has more momentum, more money, more enthusiastic supporters, and adoring media coverage. Also, one of the things that Clinton had going for her in this election is the air of inevitability, but what we’ve seen so far is that the more beatable she looks, the more her support erodes. Now that she finds herself the underdog, she loses all of the bandwagon support. Will voters who were supporting her because she was a winner stick with her now that she looks like a loser? If she loses those states, I don’t see how she justifies sticking it out another 7 weeks for Pennslyvania.
Like I said, I’ve learned to be cautious about writing her off, but at this point Hillary Clinton certainly has a steep and thorny path to the nomination.