Could it be six months before an outcome is clear?

Could it be six months before an outcome is clear?

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    Is it now impossible for either to win enough elected delegates?

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane, in an interesting post highlighted by Taegan Goddard’s Politicalwire, suggests that it is now mathematically impossible for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to pick up enough elected (pledged) delegates and that there’s a distinct possibility that the decision could be left in the hands of the so called “super-delegates”.

If so then there could be no effective Democratic candidate until the party’s convention in Denver at the end of August. In the meantime the Republican’s John McCain could be making the running.

“…. it is now basically mathematically impossible for either Clinton or Obama to win the nomination through the regular voting process…There are 3,253 pledged delegates, those doled out based on actual voting in primaries and caucuses. And you need 2,025 to win the nomination. To date, about 55% of those 3,253 delegates have been pledged in the voting process — with Clinton and Obamb roughly splitting them at about 900 delegates a piece. That means there are now only about 1,400 delegates left up for grabs in the remaining states and territories voting… If they both have about 900 pledged delegates so far, they need to win more than 1,100 of the remaining 1,400 delegates to win the nomination through actual voting…Ain’t gonna happen, barring a stunning scandal or some new crazy revelation. So, they’ll keep fighting this thing out, each accumulating their chunk of delegates, one of them holding a slight edge and both finishing the voting process with 1,600 or so delegates. And then the super delegates decide this thing. That’s the math.”

As well as putting enormous pressure on both campaigns as they fight in the remaining primaries and caucuses there’s the position of Florida and Michigan to be taken into account. These states held their primaries in defiance of the party’s national timetable and the current ruling is that the outcomes will not count. Both Obama and Hillary did not campaign officially in the states and in Michigan Barack was not even on the ballot.

In both cases Hillary won and, no doubt, her campaign will be fighting hard for them to be included in the final decision.

The difficulty for the Democrats is that if the final decision is made by unelected “super delegates” then it hardly looks democratic and could discredit the outcome.

There are other oddities. Unlike in the fifty states Puerto Rico is part of the primary process but its delegates are allocated on a winner takes all basis. Elsewhere there is a strict proportional representation system. This should favour Hillary.

In the betting Obama is now the 0.75/1 favourite.

Mike Smithson

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