|To: Our ReadersOutlook
- Despite her impressive win in Pennsylvania, Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) still faces a very difficult path to the nomination. It is impossible for her to win more elected delegates than Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). It is possible that she could yet win a majority of the composite popular primary vote, but probably not without tallying the outlawed Michigan and Florida votes.
- Clinton’s more feasible path—though very difficult—is to convince the super-delegates, by winning the remaining primaries, that she has the momentum. The two most important future primaries are North Carolina and Indiana May 6, but North Carolina looks nearly impossible, considering that half of the state’s 2.5 million registered voters are African-Americans.
- That leaves Clinton with the hope that super-delegates will see Obama as a loser against Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). The attacks by her and husband Bill Clinton have been counterproductive, Obama’s damage has been self-inflicted—especially the “bitter” speech in San Francisco.
- To avoid such mistakes, Obama appears to be tamping down his rhetoric, as in his defeat statement from Evansville, Ind., that sounded like a victory statement. It also explains his backing out of a North Carolina debate. Obama would like to coast to the nomination.
- Obama’s difficulties and the prolongation of the Clinton-Obama confrontation have lifted Republicans from their slough of despondence to optimism about the presidential election. The transformation from deep pessimism to overriding optimism is such that McCain is privately warning supporters that once the nomination is decided and supporters of the losing Democratic candidate return to the fold, he will fall behind badly (though, McCain hopes, temporarily).
- High-level Republican contributors and fund-raisers complain that the McCain campaign has not got its act in order and is still badly disorganized. This comes from very heavy GOP hitters.