Democratic primaries: End game near?

Finally, it is starting to look like the end game in the Democratic nomination process is near.

For those who missed it, a Huffington Post report cited a “senior” Clinton insider on the campaign’s exit strategy; winning as many votes as possible by 3 June, taking a week or so to pitch to the superdelegates, and wrapping up by 15 June.

Given that the HuffPost’s contributor is former West Wing producer, now TV commentor Lawrence O’Donnell, this scoop is credible.

It’s very plausible. Carl Bernstein has usefully canvassed Clinton’s options for landing her campaign. They range from the smooth and skillful landing that helps the Dems reconcile their differences and restores a little lustre to the Clintons’ legacy, to the “explosive”, following more carpet bombing of Obama’s campaign.

Who knows, if the Clinton campaign finds something — and they are reportedly still digging — we may yet see a “May surprise”, and an explosive landing. Barring this, Clinton must accept sometime soon that (1) she cannot catch Obama in the pledged delegates, and (2) her main case to the superdelegates is not a goer.

Why not? As Pollster Rasmussen points out, Clinton may be the lower risk option for the Dems come November, but she can’t win if she wrests the nomination away from Obama. In any case, he says, most Dems remain optimistic about this year’s election, and “even if Clinton is theoretically more electable, it’s a distinction without a practical difference” to them.

So the question is, if she is to bring the plane down, say in mid-June, how bumpy a landing will it be?

Bernstein says that those who know her well are increasingly of the view that it will be, “Just bumpy and scary enough to shake the Obama campaign one last time and get her into the hangar as the vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket.”

This, too, is plausible. Bernstein says that, “Almost no one I have spoken to who knows her well doubts that, as she reconciles to the likelihood that her presidential campaign will fall short, she will probably seek the vice presidential spot.” After all, as VP she achieves more of her agenda if they win, and is well set up to run again if they lose.

Of course, Obama and his people would very much prefer someone else. Someone who could bring a critical state with them, reinforce the “real change” message, and shore up some of Obama’s weak spots. While being politic about Clinton they have made this clear on numerous occasions. But, Clinton’s case that she can win the white, working class voters that Obama has trouble reaching is a very strong argument. Perhaps compelling.


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