Hillary Clinton has a choice. After today’s Rules and Bylaws Committee decision on Florida and Michigan, she can stand down, praise party unity and sing Kumbyya. Or she can fight on and create chaos. My bet is on chaos.
I’ll give you my take below but before going any further, let me get you up to speed. First, the Clinton campaign statement:
“We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan. The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party. We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes.”
Here’s what Barack Obama said Saturday night in South Dakota:
“I think that Senator Clinton and former President Clinton love this country. They love the Democratic Party. I think they deeply believe that Democrats need to win in November. And so I trust that they’re going to do the right thing.”
More background on what happened today from The Washington Post:
After hours of emotional testimony and sometimes contentious debate, Democratic Party officials agreed yesterday on a pair of compromises to seat Florida's and Michigan's delegations to their national convention. But a part of the deal drew an angry reaction and the threat of a subsequent challenge from the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The compromises by the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee called for both delegations, originally barred from the convention for violating party rules, to be seated in full in Denver but with each delegate casting only half a vote.
The actions by the committee were aimed at bringing the long and sometimes-bitter Democratic nomination battle between Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Clinton (N.Y.) to a close and to ensure party unity as the Democrats head into the general election. But the decisions prompted bitter and sometimes-tearful reactions from some members of the audience, who repeatedly shouted over the committee members as they voted.
Obama remains the heavy favorite to win the nomination, with his campaign hoping that he can secure enough delegates over the next week to do so. Puerto Rico's primary will be held today, and the last two states, Montana and South Dakota will vote Tuesday.
Until yesterday's action, the magic number for winning the nomination was 2,026 delegates. Now the winner will need 2,118. According to a count by the Associated Press, as of last night, Obama controlled 2,052 delegates to Clinton's 1,877.
Here’s the way I see it. You have to expect that Hillary Clinton WILL challenge the Michigan ruling at the Credentials Committee. All along she has said that the vote should count in full. In addition, she could very well be ahead in the popular vote too. But here’s her problem: those stinky super delegates.
You see, for as much as she is trying to make her case to these all important super delegates, they aren’t going for her so far. He’s been getting more of the undecideds and at this point at least, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t get enough of them to put him over the new number of 2,118.
This leaves Clinton with a problem. If Obama gets to the magic number of 2,118, what does she do then? Does she give it up? Claim that his victory is tainted because Michigan is outstanding? Will she challenge the so called “pledged delegates” to change their mind all the way to the convention? I think she is interested in elongating the race to not only make her case but to hope there’s a new big revelation about Obama. It’s a major gamble but she’s come this far and she’s always said she’s “In it to win it”. I don’t think she stops after June 3rd. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least for her to take this into July with the Credentials Committee and possibly all the way to Denver.