The Tipping Point

Last week’s results in Kentucky and Oregon failed to produce any real change in the race between Obama and Clinton. Obama is still moving closer to the nomination and is closing in on the magic number of 2026. Mrs. Clinton continues her determined effort to seek the recognition of Florida and Michigan delegations, win the overall popular vote as a result, and make her case to the remaining super delegates. Both Clintons have hinted strongly that they are willing to force a vote on the floor of the convention, scheduled for late August in Denver, Colorado. That such a scenario might take place is creating much concern in Democratic circles.

Most news analysis in recent weeks have concluded that the race in November will be between McCain and Obama. Most media clips involving Hillary Clinton have to do with process and how she can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. All debate on content seems to be dominated by exchanges between McCain and Obama. Is Mrs. Clinton really in the state of denial? Or is she following a ‘scorched earth policy,’ where she risks compromising the Democrats’ chances in November?

In recent days, her surrogates often include the Florida and Michigan results, both in potential delegates and popular vote, to make the case that Clinton will be ahead of Obama once the DNC decides on May 31 to seat the delegates from those two states. They conveniently forget that Clinton was the only one on the ballot in Michigan and all candidates agreed not to campaign in both Michigan and Florida. These were the rules and all candidates accepted them. This probably explains why Clinton’s argument on process has not gained any traction.

There remains three races, Puerto Rico on Sunday, and South Dakota and Montana on Tuesday. It is possible that Obama, with the help of super delegates, will have surpassed the magic number of 2025 by then. But you can bet on Hillary to continue to make the case about Florida and Michigan. Should the ruling on May 31 favour Clinton, it is possible the battle will continue.

Yet, however you look at it, this race is over. Clinton supporters may wish to force the issue and possibly push for her to be chosen as a vice-presidential candidate. Obama would be wise to resist this effort and continue to concentrate on framing the issues with McCain. Right now, the distinctions between Republicans and Democrats are becoming clearer. We are approaching a tipping point in the next seven days where Senator Obama will either have achieved the required number to claim the nomination, or he will have an absolutely insurmountable lead. As we approach the tipping point, we will see whether Hillary Clinton has the best interests of her country and party at heart, or whether she is intent on pursuing a ‘scorched earth policy.’

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