Beating Obama doesn’t guarantee Hillary Clinton the nomination

The speculation that follows may well be nuts, but, then, I’m a blogger: I’m supposed to be a little nuts (and very unserious). So here goes:

For whatever it’s worth, I’ve become increasingly convinced that Hillary Clinton’s most likely chance for some sort of a “victory,” in the sense of changing the outcome of the nomination fight, doesn’t involve her walking away with the nomination. It’s in the role of a spoiler.

While I personally think this very unlikely, it’s certainly conceivable that Hillary could beat up Obama badly enough through negative campaigning to cost him the nomination. About the only way this could realistically happen, given the arithmetic, would be for enough super delegates to lose faith in Obama’s ability to beat John McCain to deny him the nomination.

The goal of the Clinton plan — or perhaps we should call it the Clinton Hail Mary — of course, is that when this happens the super delegates will give the nomination to Hillary, even though she’ll almost certainly be trailing in pledged delegates (the ones actually elected by humanoid voters).

Not so fast.

The obvious problem with this sort of scorched earth approach is that if it works, a solid half of the Democratic Party’s rank and file will hate her guts. Mark my words: they won’t oppose her; they’ll hate her guts, or at least a lot of them will — hardly the ideal way to begin a general election campaign. (This isn’t a threat by me, since I’ll almost certainly vote for the nominee, but it’s the reality of the situation.)

What I’ve said so far has, of course, been utterly unoriginal. Every blogger in America (and probably half of their dogs and cats) has already written a post about the potential for a brokered convention to tear the party apart. So do I have anything even slightly new to say?

Only this: my point isn’t that Hillary can’t win against McCain under these circumstances (although she probably can’t): no, my point is that a lot of the super delegates are going to conclude that she can’t win against McCain under these circumstances. They are also going to realize that if they vote for Hillary, when Obama is ahead in pledged delegates, they’ll have holy hell to face back home.

Remember that a lot of these super delegates are elected officials. The last thing they want to do is offend a large segment of their base. 

So why, as a group, would they decide to give the nomination to Hillary under these circumstances? Are they into political suicide?

I may be wrong, but I don’t think they’d do it. 

Here’s what I think: in the very unlikely event that Hillary Clinton were to successfully destroy Obama as a candidate (which I don’t expect), Clinton herself wouldn’t be the most likely nominee: Al Gore would.

He would be the super delegates’ ticket out of the trap.

Two months ago I would have put the chance of a deadlocked convention turning to Gore as virtually nonexistent. As of today, it’s just damn unlikely. 

6 Responses to “Beating Obama doesn’t guarantee Hillary Clinton the nomination”

  1. slogger Says:

    Yeah, and John Edwards for Veep!
    Both of these guys got cheated. Wouldn’t this be a great payback!!

  2. alwayshope Says:

    What slogger said!

  3. dgvb55 Says:

    WOW!!! Somebody finally agrees with me. Maybe we’re not crazy afterall. Gore already has at least two issues everybody agrees on. The war in Iraq and the environment. This could serve to launch a very positive campaign message that would eat McCain alive! Hillary couldn’t do it and neither can Obama. A Gore/Obama ticket would be the ultimate. Mainly because Gore is where Obama could be in eight years, Gore could be where he should have been all along, and Clinton can stay nestled in the Senate as Majority Leader. A female Lyndon Johnson, if you will. She certainly has the right attitude, and enough “juice” to help make things happen.

  4. jmconnor Says:

    Gore was always my first choice. Therefore, even though I hate seeing Hillary and Obama beating up on each other, I would welcome this outcome.

    Re-elect President Gore!

  5. Simon Jester Says:

    Here’s my take on the drama at the deadlocked convention…

    The convention agree to ask Al Gore to be their nominee. He teleconferences in, and the feed is carried live. He says that he’ll do it, but only on his terms. Anything, they say, just be our nominee. So Al does his best Jack Benny imitation, left elbow in right palm, and says, “Oh Dennis. Would you mind coming to the convention with me? Oh, and round up Cynthia McKinney on your way over. This is going to be a coalition government.”

    Well, I can dream, can’t I?

  6. Gill Says:

    In sales, I’ve learned that how you sell is a free sample of how you deliver. What’s that mean for Hillary? Scortched Earth drama from someone who can’t control her advisors, her husband, and a divisive wastful administration that will spend the first two years rebelling against her pledge to micro-manage, and the next two years failing, as they look for the new message or packaging that will make it all right. She and her husband are risk-junkies that we just don’t need in the White House. I can’t belive what I am about to say: I have never voted Republican in my whole life, but if she is the nominee, I vote McCain. She’s shown herself to be repugnant human being, more so than McCain, and she is pretty clearly a racist, a divider, and someone prone to the exact same nigtmarish politics as GW Bush. As strongly as I am a Democrat, I can only imagine that I am not alone. We should not take for granted that all Democrats will vote for whomever gets the nomination. It’s just not true.

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