He won North Carolina by a wider margin than predicted and delivered a speech worthy of an acceptance speech. She won Indiana by much less than expected, and her so-called victory speech sounded like a concession.
It did not take long for the Clinton camp, in the name of “let every vote be counted,” to play the cards that had been showing through their sleeve all along: Florida and Michigan. The Clintonites seem determined to put super-delegates in a position that they have struggled all year long to avoid. “Make them say no” may replace “yes she can” as the next chant from her supporters.
The super-delegates may have to choose between risking defeat by denying the nomination to an African-American who is clearly ahead in both delegates and popular votes — when blacks comprise the most reliable component of the Democratic base — and risking defeat by sticking with him, in full knowledge that in that same Obama attic from which sprang Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers reside other skeletons waiting to make their appearance.
After all the talk of diversity, democratization, increased Democratic registration, increased participation, and mobilized young voters, this nomination is going to be settled in a back room where “with it” delegates, like Democrats of old, do their mischief behind arcane procedures comprehensible only to party professionals and skillful attorneys. The rules committee, scheduled to convene on May 30, is tasked with figuring out how to allocate delegates from the two large states Hillary wants in her camp. It should be one hilarious show.
After all the fuss is over, delegates pledged to both candidates and those still on the fence will have to decide at the convention whether to accept whatever report the committee produces. And the losing side gets to challenge the credentials of whichever delegates from the two states are seated. The ghost of Will Rogers, who denied that he belonged to an organized political party on the grounds that he was a Democrat, will be looking down smiling.
– Alvin S. Felzenberg is author of the forthcoming Leaders We Deserved and a Few We Didn’t: Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game (Basic Books).