I want to elaborate on a post Mike wrote earlier. What is Clinton’s future for this presidential campaign and beyond?
For the first time, the odds are against Hillary Clinton. She entered the race as the frontrunner and was the frontrunner for the nomination as far back as 2002. A lot has changed since she first announced. Obama exploded onto the national stage giving her a formidable opponent that threatens to take away the nomination from her. Today, it looks like Barack Obama will be the nominee. The polls have dramatically closed in Texas to the point of a virtual tie and Clinton’s once 20-point lead in Ohio is now down to single digits. Three things happen on March 4 and beyond.
One, the most likely, Barack Obama wins one or both of the Texas and Ohio primaries. In this case, the media will concede the nomination to Obama and Clinton will be forced to suspend her campaign. I don’t know the rules, but I do believe this means she will keep her delegates until the convention. If this happens, the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations will be pointless as Obama will be the de facto Democratic nominee and he will go on to win every state from then on and the remainder of the superdelegates will endorse Barack Obama giving him the required 2,025 delegates to be nominated. But, what if there is a credentials fight either way and Obama now needs 2,208 delegates. Can Clinton and Edwards come back into play?
Two, Clinton wins both Texas and Ohio. This gives Clinton the incentive to continue fighting and hold a credentials fight at the convention to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations. Let me put it this way. With Florida AND Michigan, Clinton has 1442 delegates compared to Obama’s 1389, 55 are uncommitted and Edwards himself will have a handful of delegates. If Clinton wins Ohio and Texas, she lives to die another day.
Three, and the least likely to occur, is Clinton loses one or both of Ohio and Texas and she remains in the race. To be honest, there is no pathway to the nomination for her if she continues after she loses these two key states. She could make Pennsylvania a firewall, but after PA, there is not much left.
So beyond the convention, what happens? The answer is pretty obvious.
One, she wins the nomination and goes on to win the election. She faces a true conservative candidate in 2012 such as Sanford.
Two, she wins the nomination and goes on to lose the election. This will be the ultimate defeat for the Clinton’s and the Democrats. Together they have only lost one election and that was in 1980 when Clinton was victim to the Reagan Revolution in Arkansas.
Three, she loses the nomination and stays in the Senate until 2012 where she faces a tougher opponent than Spencer or Lazio. Chances are she will be looking to a leadership position if this scenario comes to fruition. Chairman of the DSCC, Minority/Majority Whip or Leader? How about a theoretical push to make the office of President pro tempore an elected office instead of and honorary office? Am I pushing it? I think so too.