05 March 2008

Resisting the Wave--Hillary Wins Again

With Obama having won 11 states in a row, many bloggers were all but calling the race for him, and some Democrats were calling for Clinton to step down to help build party unity. But Obama never had more than a handful more delegates than Clinton. According to CNN's count, count, he still does, even after Clinton's victories last night, but it's still neck-and-neck. The magic number for the nomination is 2,025 delegates: Clinton has 1365 to Obama's 1451. Mathematically, she's still in the hunt.

More importantly, she may have stopped the aura of inevitability the media (dear god, the media!) creates anytime someone goes on a win streak. I've said elsewhere that it's too soon to call the victor. Obama's mixed-message on NAFTA could hurt him. He keeps (foolishly) bashing it to the public, but it has been reported that his campaign had advised Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson that Obama supported NAFTA. What Obama can't afford now is questions about his integrity--his appearance of integrity is his strength in this campaign. If that slips, Clinton is right behind (as odd as that sounds, since fewer people would rate her as highly on integrity).

Only a true gambler would wage money on the outcome right now. Speaking purely as a professional political scientist, I'd love to see it go to the convention. My colleagues who study campaigns and electios would have a field day. And while DNC Chair Howard Dean openly worries that a divided convention would make the Democrats look bad, it would also draw vast amounts of attention from the public, and the traditional post-convention bounce--provided the Dems end it on the right note, and keep the nasty bickering in the back rooms--could be huge for them, making the general election campaign an uphill battle for MCCain.


James K said...

On Slate the other wee they had a piece that argues that the 2008 election is looking a lot like the last election from The West Wing.

Obama is Jimmy Smits, Clinton is Gary Cole and McCain is Alan Alda.

According to this script, Obama (the charismatic outsider who happens to be an ethnic minority) beats the establishment Democratic candidate and then goes on to beat the very intimidating moderate Republican candidate.

There are discrepancies of course, but the wole thing fits quite well.

James Hanley said...

I have to admit that I've never seen the West Wing.

I have a mortal fear of pulling a Ronald Reagan and confusing reality with Hollywood while I'm standing in front of a class, so I tend to avoid political TV shows and movies.

But so far, James, you've mentioned Simpsons and West Wing, two quality shows. I'm curious as to what kind of dreck TV we also send you?

James K said...

That depends on your definiton of drek I guess. We get a pretty good spread of your crime / courtroom dramas. We get a fair bit of your reality TV as well (including *shudder* Survivor).

Its hard to say what we are missing out on of course, and there is more specialised content on our satellite channels (we don't have cable here, population density is too low), but on our 5 free channels I'd say we would probably get mostly the big name stuff.

James Hanley said...

"(including *shudder* survivor)"

I haven't watched Survivor in years, but I'll admit to being a huge fan when it first came out. To me it was game theory on TV. The fundamental problem for contestants was they were playing two nested games--one against their own team, one against the other team.

The best way to beat the other team was to keep your own team strong, but that meant you were keeping your strongest opponents around. I thought, and still do, that it was a brilliantly conceived strategic situation.

But all my friends think I'm sick for liking it.

James K said...

I guess I just prefer my game theory a little more abstract.