Alex Massie

What will she do now?

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All sorts of speculation as to what Hillary Clinton will do once the primary season ends this evening and even her doughtiest supporters might begin to realise it's unlikely she's going to be the Democratic party's nominee. Some of them doubtless want her to "fight on" all the way to the convention.

For what little it's worth I'd hazard that this is unlikely. Self-interest demands that she concede this week and that she does so graciously. At the risk of looking too far down the road (why bother with this election when we can have fun with one to come?) let's just say that it's all about 2012.

Assume that the Clintons are right that Obama can't defeat McCain this November. Assume too that Hillarys presidential ambitions aren't likely to fade away. She would, one might think, be well-placed to challenge McCain in 2012, by which time of course, McCain will be 77 and the GOP will have been in the White House for 12 years...

But Hillary can only be a credible candidate if she's seen to be a team player now. If she continues the fight beyond the point of hopelessness and McCain wins many Democrats will, fairly or not, blame her for Obama's defeat. And they will not forget that.

Her own political prospects depend upon her being seen to offer Obama her full support, uniting behind the party's nominee. For that reason, then, I'd expect her to concede soo and to do so more graciously than might be expected on the basis of the tenor and temper of the campaign so far.

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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