3/15/2008--Last Thursday, James O’Toole of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, wrote a story about the different ways the Obama and Clinton campaigns are spinning the April 22 Pennsylvania Primary. For the Obama campaign, this primary is just another contest in the search for delegates. For the Clinton campaign, Pennsylvania is a must win for Obama. If Senator Clinton wins, she is the nominee.
Even as a Pennsylvania Obama supporter, which I am, I agree with Senator Clinton. How can you be the nominee of the Democratic Party after losing the popular vote in California, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania? The only big state Senator Obama has won is his home state of Illinois and, of course, Senator Clinton won New York.
It is true that a delegate is a delegate. If Senator Obama were actually going to win the 2025 delegates needed for nomination, it would not matter in what states or what order he won them. But no one is going to win the needed number. The superdelegates are going to decide the outcome. And, therefore, the perception of legitimacy is what will decide the race. If Senator Obama loses Pennsylvania, Senator Clinton’s claim to the nomination is as good as his, despite his small delegate lead. In fact, I think her claim is stronger. The Democrats are not going to carry several of the states Senator Obama has won, even if he is the nominee.
All of the above comes with a caveat. Apparently, the voters in Michigan and Florida will eventually get a second change at selecting a nominee for President. Winning either of those two states would be just as good as winning Pennsylvania. I only mean that Senator Obama must beat Senator Clinton in a big state at some point in order to be the nominee for President of the Democratic Party.