James Forsyth says that Hillary’s disappointment in Tuesday’s primaries is matched by the decline in Obama’s image, as the sheen of the wunderkind fades and doubts multiply
Barack Obama entered the arena on Tuesday night to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’. But a more appropriate song would have been ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by the Rolling Stones. For although Obama did not get the two victories he wanted (in Indiana and North Carolina) to knock Hillary out of the race, he got what he needed: a far bigger win in North Carolina than Hillary Clinton achieved in Indiana. So after these two contests, Obama is within touching distance of the nomination — indeed, much of the media is now ready to declare him the nominee — and he can expect a steady flow of the all-important super-delegates to declare for him in the coming days. To be sure of the nomination, Obama needs two things: to be ahead in pledged delegates and ahead in the popular vote. In these circumstances and short of an awful scandal, the super-delegates would neither wish to nor dare to deny Obama the nomination.
The significance of Obama’s margin in North Carolina and Hillary’s failure to run up one in Indiana is that it should ensure that Obama is ahead in the popular vote as well as the delegate count at the end of this process on 3 June. If he is not, then the party would be subject to an unbelievably divisive argument. The Clintons would contend that Obama’s lead in pledged delegates was illegitimate as it had came from caucuses which disenfranchise their supporters. One Clinton staffer I spoke to this week was positively giddy about sending GIs out to make this argument (serving GIs could not vote in the caucuses, which require you to be physically present at a set place at a set time).