Thursday, June 05, 2008

Clinton-Campaign-Post-Mortem: When Did It Become Inevitable?

So it seems like the conventional wisdom is that HRC has been on the losing train for quite some time now (whether she should have dropped out before hand being a separate, but inexorably related, question). One interesting ex post analysis would be to ask at what point did defeat become more or less inevitable; put another way, at what time was there no longer any reasonable chance - that will be our quantum - that HRC could prevail and win the nomination?

The Washington Post has a good, slightly long, feature article today titled "She Could Accept Losing. She Could Not Accept Quitting." In addition to providing a pretty intriguing inside-look into HRC's campaign, it also gives an answer to this question: May 6, the day of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, a double digit loss and narrow victory for HRC respectively. The article contends that, not only did HRC "expect" (perhaps unreasonably, as some advisers to campaign have retorted) to do much better in both those states, but that that moment also opened the floodgates to wave events that heralded ultimate defeat: the trickle that eventually turned into a flood of super's jumping ship, the Edwards endorsement, et cetra.

We'd take it back even further, to the "Firewall" primaries in Texas and Ohio. Hillary won both of those, Ohio by 10 points and Texas by 1-2 (although she actually lost delegates in Texas because of its strange apportionment rules for delegates there), but these were both states in which she had at one time huge leads. The Obama campaign considered its showing in Ohio and Texas to be a victory, and rightly so - it was, in fact and viewed retrospecitvely, the coup de grace: After winning 10 straight contests - including a throrough rout in the "Potomac Primaries" in DC, MD, and VA, Obama's performance in OH and TX made it a sure thing that HRC was *never* going to be able to exceed him in pledged delegates (i.e. those chosen through caucuses and primaries). From then on, HRC could only really cling to her "popular vote" and variations of her "I'm more electable" argument - both of which were, at best, only somewhat true to begin with and became less and less true as time dragged on.

So HRC has, in our opinion, wasted time and resources for the past few months. The counterargument is that everyone, regardless of in which state they live in, should get a say in the primary process. Fine with us - but we think that's just another argument for having a single, national primary (with instant run-off voting if no candidate gets a majority) as opposed to dragging this thing out for months and months . . .

No reason to start doing the smart thing now, though.

The last post about primary election postering, at least for a while. After all, we did say that it is stupid and dangerous to get to fixated on the primaries.

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