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Electoral College: South Dakota Strengthens for McCain

New info on new polls from South Dakota moves the state all the way from “Leaning McCain” to “Strong McCain”. This essentially takes the state out of play for Obama, weakening his “Best Case Scenario”.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case – Obama 327, McCain 211

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) – McCain 302, Obama 236

Today’s Obama Delegate Haul

Many many weeks after it would have made any real difference, or shown anything beyond a characterless need to attach oneself to the person who will win anyway, Edwards endorsed Obama. Today 8 out of Edward’s 19 delegates announced they will vote for Obama at the convention. In addition, Obama got 7 more superdelegates today. This makes Obama’s total delegate gain for today 15 delegates. Clinton got one. Ouch.

So, this now puts us here:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1899, Clinton 1719, Edwards 11

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.3%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.3%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 421 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 127 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 307 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 30.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 33.7% before WV.)

Clinton needs 72.9% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 70.8% before WV.)

More Unlikely Drama

I had briefly thought about this a few weeks ago, but dismissed it as a serious possibility at the time.

If Clinton Wants VP, Obama Can’t Stop Her
(Bob Beckel, RealClearPolitics)

It’s all over. Obama will have about 54% of the delegates and Clinton 46%. (I know there are a few delegates missing. Some are Edwards, a few uncommitted, and a few refusing to decide- another wash). Hillary Clinton will have come up short by 150 votes. But this isn’t horseshoes. That said she still comes in a very close second, which puts her among the closest runner-ups in Democratic Party history.

So Barack Obama is free to pick a running mate? Not so fast. Her losing margin of 150 is only 19% of the super delegates at the convention. Most of the 795 super delegates have been put under enormous pressure by both candidates for months. For those that chose Obama the decision was an especially painful one both personally and politically.

Just consider for a moment the final phone call with Bill Clinton when the super delegate had to tell him he or she had decided to go with Obama. Clinton,” It’s time to make a decision. Hillary needs you and I need you. We’ve been through a lot together. When you needed me I was there, now we need you”.

Super delegate, “Mr. President, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I’m going with Obama because (whatever). Ask me for anything else Mr. President, but I’ve got to do this”. Clinton, “I’m very disappointed and personally hurt, but do what you think you have to do. So long.”

Now imagine its June 4th and Clinton calls again. Clinton, “I know Obama has enough votes to win, but I wanted you to know Hillary has decided to run for vice president at the convention. You know there are two roll call votes at the convention: first president then for vice president. I know you are voting for Obama for president. Fine, but I want your commitment to vote for Hillary for vice president.”

(via Wonkette)

Basically, the deal is this, while for many many election cycles, it has been the case that the Presidential nominee picks who they want and the convention rubber stamps it, it is indeed actually two separate and completely independent votes. There have been times in history where the Presidential candidate didn’t even bother stating a preference for VP, they just threw it open for the convention to decide. But even if the presidential candidate does state a preference, the delegates are under no obligation to honor it other than tradition and the fact they like their candidate and want to respect their wishes. This is true for even pledged delegates and as the author points out, superdelegates will feel even more free…. especially those who remained uncommitted for a very long time and are now basically just going for Obama because they want to pick the winner.

All it would take is a small number of Obama delegates (pledged or super) to decide that even if Obama picks someone else, even if they strongly support Obama for President, they want Clinton to be VP, and that would be that… even if Obama doesn’t want it. And the numbers are close enough that Clinton probably could peel off enough Obama supporters to do this… if she really wanted it and applied enough pressure in the right places.

But would Hillary really go this route? Can you imagine just what chaos there would be if Hillary tried to force herself onto the ticket against Obama’s wishes?? Can you imagine how the campaign would look between the convention and the general election if there was open hostility and resentment between the Presidential and VP candidates?

No, this will not happen. Even Hillary is not that Machiavellian.

Um, OK, maybe she is. Every time someone underestimates what level she can go to, they are proven wrong.

Perhaps this article is actually a coordinated back channels message to Obama threatening to do this if Obama doesn’t pick her to try to pressure him into doing so. But she wouldn’t actually do it would she?

Would she?

And really, does she truly WANT to be Vice President under Obama? Why would she? I can’t imagine that would be a fun place for her.

But you never know.