A lot of members of the media have bought into the Clinton spin that the delegate count doesn’t matter at this point, because everything will be decided by superdelegates. But the fact that Obama has a solid lead among pledged delegates means that at the end of the primary process, while Obama will still need to convince superdelegates to support him, he will not require as many superdelegates as Clinton will. So far, superdelegates have been divided in their loyalties, and there’s no reason to assume that this trend will change, or that they will decide to vote in one bloc at the convention. Some might be swayed by Obama’s arguments for why he should be the nominee, while others might be swayed by Clinton’s. But division among superdelegates would mean a win for Obama.
Although all delegate math is extremely rough right now, I will use some numbers at Real Clear Politics to help illustrate my point. Right now, Obama leads Clinton by 120 delegates overall. What this means is that for Clinton to catch Obama, she would have to win over about two-thirds of the remaining 340 superdelegates.
Of course, a lot could happen between now and the convention. Perhaps Clinton could win a lot more of the remaining states and eat into Obama’s delegate lead, or raise so many doubts about his candidacy that the superdelegates gravitate toward her en masse, and that even the superdelegates who now favor Obama will start flocking her way.
But the point is that the Clinton camp has been making the argument that even if Obama brings his delegate lead into the convention, it won’t matter, because she can convince superdelegates to get behind her. Such an argument, while plausible, doesn’t take into account the fact that she’ll have a lot more people to convince than Obama will.
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