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Monday, May 5

Hillary's nuclear option

Reading this in the UK papers or seeing it on the BBC coverage?

Guardian's Michael Tomasky argues today that Hillary has a "40%" chance of getting the nomination. This fits with a lot of other UK media commentators idea that she still has this sort of chance.

Huffpost today outlines just how that might happen and it's called the 'nuclear option' or the 'destroy a village in order to save it' strategy.

This is what she would have to do at the Denver Democratic Convention.

"With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could -- when the committee meets at the end of this month -- try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give an estimate."
Both Florida and Michigan primaries were held outside the Democrats rules (they decided to go early, before February 5). In Michigan, Obama wasn't even on the ballot. Thus, those delegates currently shouldn't be seated.
"A controversial decision to seat the two delegations, as currently constituted, would be appealed by the Obama campaign to the Democratic National Convention's Credentials Committee."

"The full make-up of the Credentials Committee will not be determined until all the primaries are completed, but the pattern of Clinton and Obama victories so far clearly suggests that Obama delegates on that committee will outnumber Clinton delegates. Obama will not, however, have a majority, according to most estimates, and the balance of power will be held by delegates appointed by DNC chair Howard Dean."
This backrooms strategy is also of course dependent on:
  • willingness to cause complete uproar and probably lose huge constituencies, most notably the black vote but also youth and liberals, in November;
  • Clinton loyalists on the Rules Committee would have to be persuaded to put their political futures on the line by defying major party constituencies;
  • her argument that she is a better general election candidate than Obama -- that he has major weaknesses which have only been recently revealed -- would have to rapidly gain traction, not only within the media, where she has experienced some success, but within the broad activist ranks of the Democratic Party;
  • Dean would have to be convinced of Clinton's superior viability in the general election, and that she has a strong chance of defeating McCain next November.
All of which Tomasky thinks has to a "40%" chance of happening.

Given the above information, are you kidding me?


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