Monday, May 5, 2008

A Must Win State for Clinton and Obama

I'm on the road at the moment, so blogging will be sparse for the next day or two.

I just wanted to take note of an interesting fact. So far, we have had must-win states for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Tomorrow, we will see the first state vote that is a must win for both of them: North Carolina. If Hillary doesn't win the Tar Heel State, the delegate numbers will finally, irreversibly overcome her candidacy. By now it is clear that the Super Delegates will not overturn the will of the voters, however inadequately expressed through caucuses and the like. A loss in North Carolina will largely erase the gains Senator Clinton made a fortnight ago in Pennsylvania.

On the other hand, Barack Obama also needs to win the North Carolina primary, Unlike most states in recent days, this one has been regarded as a lay-up for Obama for several weeks. But Clinton has closed the gap of late and if she somehow won this southern state, with its large African American population, it would strike fear in the hearts of the Supers. Obama has been bleeding support over the past few weeks. Losses tomorrow in Indiana and North Carolina would turn that bleeding into a hemorrhage.

There is an emerging consensus that Barack Obama has been critically weakened by the recent negative press he has received, particular the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Should he suffer a loss in his southern breadbaskets, the whispers and murmurs will turn to shouts. For the first time since Super Tuesday, a Hillary Clinton nomination would be not only plausible, but even likely.

Grab the popcorn: tomorrow will see either the effective end of one candidacy, or the possible beginning of the end of the other.

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