Monday, 2 June 2008

So long, farewell and thanks for all the fun Mrs Clinton

A few weeks ago I argued that Hillary Clinton shouldn't quit the race quite yet and instead continue in the campaign but do so in a more magnanimous fashion. It seems that magnanimity is a bit too much for Ms Clinton just yet. Her surrogate Harold Ickes has been all over the news channels this weekend raging about 4 delegates taken from her tally in Michigan in opposition to the will of 600,000 voters.

Four things: 

(i) Barack Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan as the ruling at the time was that NONE of Michigan's delegates would be seated. The Obama campaign consequently didn't compete the seat following the DNC's ruling. 

(ii) It is clear that turnout was completely suppressed in Michigan so it is not at all clear that it can be counted as a proper primary in any sense. Compare Ohio, which has a similar population to Michigan and had a turnout of 2.2million. 600,000 or so voted in the Michigan primary in a more Democratic state. It is also a state in a geographic region where Obama has done well.

(iii) The decision was made by the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee on the basis of a proposal by the Michigan Democratic Party. 

(iv) We are talking about FOUR delegates. Perhaps the Clinton campaign, in a characteristic act of denial, has not noticed that it is in deficit by over 150 delegates! Is it really worth ratcheting up the rhetoric to such a degree when the potential gain is so little?

So this is all a bit silly now. At a time when the rhetoric should be dampened, Clinton surrogates are still trying to stoke up resentment. What can they possibly gain? Nothing. The Democrats could pay a heavy price, however. Even the Clinton loyalist concludes that her chances are 'near to nothing' as she now has to win 82% of the remaining delegates.

A few weeks ago, 'not yet' was my conclusion about whether Hillary Clinton should quit (with the important 'be nice' caveat which has been broken.) The final primaries take place in Montana and South Dakota tomorrow. The minute those polls close provides a great opportunity for Hillary Clinton to show her political courage and deep commitment to the party. 

Yes, Hillary, the time to quit has come. So long and thanks for all the fun.

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