Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Drop Out Of Democratic Presidential Nomination Race

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CNN just showed Senator Hillary Clinton at a campaign appearance, gearing up for the upcoming West Virginia primary — and the subject comes up: with the number of pledged delegates, the popular vote and fund-raising against her, why won’t she quit her battle with Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination?

The New York Daily News has an article detailing the reasons why. And a key reason, the paper says, is her camp’s feeling that Obama has little appeal to white collar voters:

While the case for Hillary Clinton to stay in the race is shakier than ever, one ugly reason for staying in could be found Tuesday amid the ruddy, sun-kissed Hoosiers who cheered her on to victory at the Indianapolis Speedway.

With Clinton posing alongside pioneering Indy speedster Sarah Fisher, there were almost no African-Americans to be seen. Many in the white, working-class crowd were simply not ready to back Barack Obama….

Such feelings leave Clinton and the Democratic Party in a tough spot. With the largest number of remaining delegates now being party insiders, they have to decide if Obama can overcome enough of that antipathy – essentially deciding if enough working-class whites will back away from the black candidate, whether because of the false Muslim rumors, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright flap or old-fashioned racism.

The paper reports that this need “gives her a reason to stay in the race.”

So how long is it likely to go? According to the Daily News, it’s likely Clinton will fight on all the way to the convention, unless there is a truly massive outcry for her to leave:

Two separate sources in the Clinton orbit insisted Tuesday night it’s now more likely Hillary will pursue her quest until the August convention in Denver – unless party leaders rise up en masse and publicly tell her it’s time to stop. The math, after all, remains solidly in Obama’s favor.

“I can think of no reason why it would not go to the convention now,” one top Hillary Democrat predicted. “Why should she get out?”

And then there’s a section that could be a red warning flag:

Some insiders still want to make sure no new bombshells will explode around the freshman Illinois senator.

Will there be new allegations surfacing? Perhaps in original, blind sourced reporting on the Drudge Report? If those surface, look for fingers to be pointed at the Clinton campaign, even if it’s not the source.

He could slip and stumble some more, her polls could continue to be strong, and once the party decides what to do with Florida and Michigan, his lead in the popular vote will be very narrow,” an insider said.

A top Democratic source with insight into Bill’s and Hillary’s states of mind says the Clintons are convinced that a Democratic presidency is all but certain no matter how messy the fight for the nomination.

In that scenario – which the Obama side and some Democratic elders worry is wishful thinking at best, delusional at worst – there’s no downside for Hillary doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

The problem is the meaning of “whatever it takes.” If it’s via a continued campaign aimed at driving up Obama’s negatives so they can convince Superdelegates Obama is unelectable, it’s likely to received a lot more poorly by party bigwigs than it would have been two weeks ago.

Already former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern today jumped ship from Clinton and endorsed Obama. And there are new reports that Clinton has had to lend her campaign $6.4 million more — bringing the total $11.4 million. If this keeps up, watch for late night comedians to do jokes with her name and Mitt Romney’s in the punchline.

If Clinton plays out her campaign based on issues and makes a graceful exit, the Democrats have a chance at unity. If her campaign remains an aggressive negative campaign, complete with eleventh hour negative campaign ads, it could backfire with some superdelegates and will make the Democrats’ attempts to unify their fractured party even more difficult — not to mention negate any possibility of a “Dream Ticket” which more and more seems like an In Your Dreams Ticket.

FOOTNOTE: Just how bad was the political news last night. GO HERE and look at the photos that show how poorly Bill Clinton serves his wife when he stands by her side after a defeat.

Cartoon by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

For more blog discussion on this story go here.

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  • elrod

    I think you mean white, working-class voters, not white collar voters. Obama has dominated among white collar Democrats all along, including yesterday. He won wealthy Hamilton County, Indiana, and the whole Research Triangle area with 66% of the vote.

    His problem is with less educated white voters – especially older ones.