Alex Massie

Clinton’s latest straw-clutching

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Dan Drezner asks whether the Clinton campaign's arguments can be reconciled logically:

Over the past few days, the Clinton campaign has made the following two arguments: 

a)  Caucuses don't really count as much as primaries because, "the caucus system is undemocratic and caters mostly to party activists."

b)  The superdelegates -- which consist only of party activists -- should not follow the primary results but instead, "should make an independent decision based on who they thought would be the strongest candidate and president." 

Well, no, they can't. More interesting than the obvious contradictions at play here, is the fact that these arguments are even being made. It's another sign, I think, of the Clinton campaign's increasing desperation. There's a whiff of panic about this, a sense of self-pitying pleading that it's just not fair that Clinton is losing. A confident campaign would not be talking like this. I suspect voters can sense this too and that these arguments can only irritate the Democratic electorate and, consequently, are likely to nudge voters closer to Obama.

Partly for this reason, I agree with Noam Scheiber who argues that the importance of the Super-delegates has been exaggerated. Many of them will, I think, be unwilling to hand the election to the candidate who has won the fewer delegates during the primary and caucus process. If a Clinton victory depended upon her support amongst super-delegates she'd be even more hard-pressed to win in November. Most super-delegates will - or at least most of those still uncommitted - want to back the winner, not act as kingmaker (or quueenmaker of course.)

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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