Barack Obama's large margin of victory last week in North Carolina was not enough to deliver the coup de grace to Hillary Clinton, who stays in the race following a narrow victory in Indiana.
It is West Virginia's turn at the polling booth on Tuesday, and Clinton should have no trouble winning big in the state, with some polls putting her lead at as much as 30%. Yet the state is small, only offering 28 delegates. A two-thirds share of the vote for Clinton would only whittle away ten delegates from Obama's lead, which currently stands at about 150. There are 217 pledged delegates still up for grabs and Obama needs approximately 180 of them to reach the threshold of 2025. This simply will not happen, considering the remaining states are more favourable to Clinton. Therefore, it is up to the uncommitted super delegates to decide the race. Obama's lead will be very hard to overturn and if the race stays on its current trajectory, he will be the nominee.
Of course, the longer all this goes on, the more harm it does to Obama, assuming he is the eventual victor. Responders to a Gallup Poll think that Clinton and Obama's continued campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination is doing more harm than good.
Clinton cannot possibly win the nomination in a clean, transparent fight. Her options are:
- Push Florida and Michigan: Clinton won these two states, but since they broke party rules by holding their primaries too early, their delegates will not be allowed to vote in the convention. If their votes are added to the total, a Clinton victory becomes conceivable.
- Electability theme: Clinton has done better than Obama in some key general election swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. If she can successfully frame the debate around who has a better chance at beating John McCain in these crucial states, many super-delegates could come around to her side.
- Find some skeletons: uncover something unsavoury from Obama’s past.
'Go nuclear': Clinton has more friends on the Democratic Party’s rules and bylaws committee. They could in theory ram through some new procedural tricks for votes at the convention which could give Clinton an advantage.