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March 8, 2008
The Coming 'Obamalypse' by R. Moran
What happens if, despite leading in the pledged delegate count, Barack Obama fails to gain the Democratic nomination for president?
It's a scenario that is becoming more likely after this week's results in Texas and Ohio revived Hillary Clinton's campaign. And Ed Morrissey sees what many Obama supporters are already hinting at; a massive amount of dissatisfaction not only with Democrats but also with the electoral process itself:
Obama himself will be the real source of the disillusionment. No one in politics could live up to the expectation he set for himself and his campaign, especially one who comes out of Chicago, as we are all learning. Unlike John McCain, who seems to take a bit of delight in delivering bad news to voters, Obama tended to tell people what they wanted to hear. The demagoguery over NAFTA came from a relentless pursuit of populism that hadn’t been a characteristic of his early campaign. This is Al Sharpton on Bill O'Reilly's show:
That doesn’t make Obama any worse than most politicians, and probably still a league above the Clintons. It does strip him of his New Politics conceit, though, and he has little else to offer. As David Brooks put it, even that New Politics identity has never translated into any specific policies or concrete improvements in American life, and his three short years in the Senate hasn’t shown any evidence that he’s tried to apply it anywhere except on the campaign stump.
"Superdelegates are not Supermen. The party can’t say it represents the concept of one-man, one-vote democracy and then make backroom deals that ignore the popular vote and the will of the electorate. They will march in the street to protest a Hillary nomination if she comes into Denver trailing Obama."Michael Barone also sees trouble for the Democrats if the Hillary comeback scenario comes true:
But Clinton is still about 100 delegates behind, and the Democrats' proportional representation rules make it impossible for her to close the gap in the remaining primaries. Her only plausible path to the nomination is to win a majority of super-delegates (party and public officials) and, perhaps, to reverse the party's decision disqualifying the Michigan and Florida delegations -- i.e., overruling the voters in one case and changing the rules after the game has been played in the other. Barone points out that in Texas, late deciders ran 60-39 in favor of Hillary - a clear indication that the "red phone" ad worked spectacularly - and poses a huge problem for Obama both in later primaries and in the general election.
This might pass muster if the national polls show an unambiguous and substantial move toward Clinton. Otherwise, in more likely and ambiguous circumstances, a Clinton nomination will seem illegitimate to many who have been swooning over Obama and streaming into polling booths because he alone offers hope.
The March 4 exit polls show increasing percentages of Democratic primary voters unwilling to accept the rejection of their candidate. Both candidates have an incentive to attack on grounds that will weaken the other in the general election, as Clinton has already started to do with her "red phone" ad.
Obama has already used this argument with Super Delegates - that denying him the nomination will make many of his supporters extremely unhappy. Given that there is little chance that Hillary Clinton will be able to overtake Obama in the pledged delegate total, expect this argument to become more visible the closer we get to the convention.