It's Her Call

In recent days everyone from pundits to strategists have generally concluded Hillary Clinton has either lost the nomination or has, at best, a faint hope of winning. Even the late night comedians are saying Hillary is leading in the state of ‘denial.’ But Senator Clinton is as resilient as they come. She intends to stay in a race until it is mathematically impossible to win and, if Senator Obama has not clinched the nomination before the Convention, she will provoke a decision on the floor of the Convention. This is what her spinner says, and this is what both Clintons indicate.

It seems that the more people ask Hillary to withdraw from the race, the more dogged is her determination to stay on. It is understandable because it has been a life long ambition, and her candidacy is as historic as that of her opponent. Her followers are passionate about the Clinton brand and undoubtedly having the first woman as Commander in Chief is a compelling goal.

It was believed that her decisive victory in West Virginia would provide an honorable and graceful exit. In her victory address, Mrs. Clinton instead made the case for staying in. She believes that she is the best candidate to be president and that her coalition offers the best guarantee to win the election in November. She claims she wins the swing states and the big states necessary to put a Democrat in the White House. The implication is Senator Obama cannot beat John McCain.

The Obama campaign, however, continues its steady course towards the nomination. Obama now leads in super delegates, pledged delegates, voters and has won the majority of States. It seems everyday super delegates are gravitating to the Illinois Senator. It is likely he will have secured the support of the majority of pledged delegates by next Tuesday, leaving Mrs. Clinton hoping that super delegates massively rally to her. This is unlikely.

Obama has been tested and while he has lost some of his early lustre, he is emerging as a more seasoned campaigner with greater assurance. He is regaining his clarity of message and is looking more and more presidential. In recent days, we are seeing an Obama versus McCain contest emerge, with Hillary making the case for staying in and not much else.

Should she stay in the race? In my view, the senator from New York will not be an attractive candidate for the vice-presidency. The longer she stays, the more she demonstrates this. As a result, it will give Obama greater leverage in choosing someone else. To Mrs. Clinton’s credit, she has become less negative, as if she is possibly seeing the inevitable. So let the race go on, with Senator Obama showing more resolve and leadership every day which can only help him for the big contest down the road. This is why I believe that we should respect Hillary Clinton’s present course. It’s her call.

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