Obama close to declaring outright victory, but Clinton's fight goes on
Friday 09 May 2008
Amid warnings of civil war in her party, an indefatigable Hillary Clinton boarded her charter jet yesterday for back-to-back campaign appearances in no fewer than three primary states even as aides to her rival, Barack Obama, hinted quietly that he may choose to declare final victory within days.
While the US media have mostly pronounced the race for the Democratic presidential nomination effectively over, the Clinton camp is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to stay alive: challenging party rules and positing her superior electability. The candidate whose platform is called "Solutions for America" is now frantically seeking solutions for herself.
Mrs Clinton told USA Today she was more viable because of a broader base of support among working class whites. "There's a pattern emerging here," she said. "These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election. Everybody knows that."
Her campaign is desperate to recover the psychological advantage which has swung heavily towards Mr Obama after his win in North Carolina on Tuesday and near-miss in Indiana. She is hoping for a mood-change again if she can win in West Virginia next Tuesday, which appears likely.
There seems little chance that she will abandon her quest before 31 May, when the Democrat Party's rules committee will convene to consider her campaign's appeal for delegates from Michigan and Florida to be seated at the nominating convention in August. Primary elections in both states were deemed void, because they moved their polling dates forward in violation of party rules.
But things may become ugly much sooner. An adviser to Mr Obama was anonymously quoted on the Politico.com website yesterday suggesting that he will declare himself the winner finally on 20 May after results come in late in the day from two states holding primaries, Kentucky and Oregon.
The calculation is that this will be the moment when he achieves a simple majority of pledged delegates amassed over the entire primary season. (Pledged delegates are assigned according to primary results in all states, in contrast to the superdelegates who are mostly party stalwarts.)
By challenging the Michigan-Florida decision, Mrs Clinton aims to scramble that equation. As of now, a total of 3,253 pledged delegates are on the table and Mr Obama expects to have cornered more than half by the night of 20 May. But if she can persuade the party to reinstate the 366 delegates from Michigan and Florida, the goalposts would suddenly be shifted.
It may help her that the rules committee is disproportionately stacked with people who have been her supporters. Even so, the chances that it will heed her appeals and reverse the party's position on the status of the two renegade states seem slim. Neither candidate campaigned in Florida or Michigan. In the latter, Mr Obama was not even on the ballot.
Party elders will also worry that changing the rules of the game now would trigger civil war in the party if it ended up denying Mr Obama a victory he would seem to have won fairly. A first warning shot against Mrs Clinton was fired by former president Jimmy Carter who said on the Jay Leno show that the states had "disqualified themselves". Forgiving them now, "would be a catastrophe for the party," he said.
An Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, called Mrs Clinton's claims on broader white support "not true and frankly disappointing".
For rolling comment on the US election visit: independent.co.uk/campaign08
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...