Monday 2 June 2008

Hillary expected to concede tomorrow

Reports from across the Atlantic have suggested that the US Primary could soon be over, with Hillary Clinton finally ready to concede the Democrat nomination to Barack Obama. The New York Senator is expected to give her formal concession following the results of the two remaining states of South Dakota and Montana who vote tomorrow. Politico reports that Hillary’s campaign team, currently spread over South Dakota, Montana and Puerto Rico, have already been informed that their roles are now effectively redundant, with staffers being given the option of either returning home or travelling to New York for her official announcement and probable endorsement of the Illinois Senator.

Senator Clinton’s withdrawal has been expected for some time, with many – including several of her own former campaign staff, plus members of her husband’s former White House team – expressing their dismay that she has continued a fight the result of which has long been considered a foregone conclusion. The final nail in Hillary’s campaign coffin appears to have been delivered by the Democrat party rules committee’s compromise agreement to split the previously inadmissible votes of Florida and Michigan, with the New York Times quoting two members of Hillary’s campaign staff that she has “come to terms with the near certainty” that she will lose out on the nomination for November’s Presidential election, following the decision. Reports had indicated that the Clinton camp were expecting as much as the full quota of the available votes.

However, while victory appears to be within Obama’s sight, it may yet prove a tainted one – despite his gaining seventeen delegates yesterday in Puerto Rico as well as widely being expected to take both remaining states, the thirty-one combined available votes will not be enough to finally carry him over the threshold of 2,118 needed to finally secure the nomination outright, and the support of superdelegates will be required to make up his current shortfall of forty seven. In addition to a long and sometimes bruising battle for both Clinton and Obama, this result must be music to the ears of Republicans, who will now point to the latter’s inability to win a clear elected majority among his own party, let alone the country. For this reason, both Harry Reid (Democrat Senate Majority Leader) and Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House of Representatives), are reported to have been contacting as-yet uncommitted superdelegates to support Obama as soon as the results have been declared, if only to avoid accusations of a wounded candidate before the election proper has even begun.

As for Clinton, the nature of the contest appears to rule out any prospect of a “dream ticket” with her running alongside Obama for VP, for the reason that the two contenders sharing a platform would provide a regular public reminder of both the often bitter campaign between pair, and the extremely narrow margin of his victory. In addition, Clinton is not known for playing a happy second-fiddle, and her recent comments appearing to allude to an assassination may have given Team Obama the perfect excuse for Clinton to be passed over a second time. Instead, this author expects her to retreat back to New York where she will gracefully endorse the Illinois Senator, before ploughing herself back into her Senatorial career – probably picking up Ted Kennedy’s mantle as the party’s all-star liberal lion. In doing so, this could place her in prime position for a second run at the prize in 2012 should Obama fall to McCain in November’s election, or in 2016 should he prove successful.

So the Clinton story continues, with the only question that remains is whether Obama can overcome the slings and arrows sustained during the most closely fought Primary in recent memory, or if such previous attacks have presented John McCain with a crucial advantage in the fight for the White House.

The battle is over, let war commence.