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No Knock-Outs from Here to the Convention

By Paul Kane
If you review the delegate figures, you can only arrive at one conclusion: It is now basically mathematically impossible for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to win the Democratic presidential nomination through the regular voting process (meaning the super-delegates decide this one, baby!).

Here's the math. There are 3,253 pledged delegates, those doled out based on actual voting in primaries and caucuses. And you need 2,025 to win the nomination.

To date, about 52 percent of those 3,253 delegates have been pledged in the voting process -- with Clinton and Obama roughly splitting them at 832 and 821 delegates a piece, according to the AP.

That means there are now only about 1,600 delegates left up for grabs in the remaining states and territories voting.

So, do the math. If they both have 820 plus pledged delegates so far, they'll need to win roughly 1,200 -- 75 percent -- of the remaining 1,600 delegates to win the nomination through actual voting.

In other words: Ain't gonna happen, barring a stunning scandal or some new crazy revelation. So, Clinton and Obama keep fighting this thing out, each accumulating a chunk of delegates, one of them holding a slight edge and both finishing the voting process with 1,600 or so delegates.

And then the super delegates decide this thing.

That's the math.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 7, 2008; 6:45 PM ET
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This whole Superdelegate thing should not be the deciding factor. There is an online petition to ask that Governor Dean lead an effort to amend the Convention rules to guarantee that the winner of a majority of Pledged Delegates (the ones awarded through Primaries and Caucuses) will have sufficient bound Superdelegate votes to guarantee the nomination.

Here is the link -

Please, forward this to your Democratic friends and ask them to help in this grassroots effort to keep this nomination in the hands of the people voting and not with the Superdelegates.

Posted by: psquare | February 10, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Theoretically, yeah. In practice, if one of these two candidates establishes major momentum and domination over the other and wins a long string of victories, the other candidate will be strongly pressured to call it quits.

The super delegates are all politicians. It is their nature to look at which way the wind blows among the party's voters and for the most part move in that direction. It doesn't matter who some of them might have endorsed a year ago. If one of these candidates establishes domination over the other over the next couple months, then that is whom most of the super delegates will support.

Sure, in theory one of these 2 people would have to take 75% of the remaining pledged delegates in order to wrap things up that way. And neither of them can possibly do that. But in practice, if a candidate who walks into the convention significantly lagging in pledged delegates then he or she is almost by definition not going to have the political muscle to get a large majority of super delegates to lend support.

Maybe if they both walked into the convention tied by less than 5% it could be an issue.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | February 8, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Solution: let the Republican party select the candidate. If they choose Hillary, then make Obama the candidate. If they choose Obama, then make Obama the candidate.

Posted by: xira | February 8, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Should Hillary win the nod as Party nominee, Harold Ford, TN would make an excellent V.P.

Posted by: PhilTR | February 7, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope that if either candidate goes to the dnc with more votes and pledged delegates, the 'machine' doesn't backhandedly award the election to the other.

Because the back room can steal an election as easily as any court can..

Posted by: perryair | February 7, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Michigan and Florida are not in play. And they better not try to reinstate them. Unless of course they want to destroy the Democratic party.

Posted by: Allec | February 7, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

The problem, of course, is Michigan and Florida, who had their delegates stripped for break the DNC scheduling rules. Nice move guys...

Posted by: sfmandrew | February 7, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

That's assuming, of course, they both continue until the end of the primaries.

It's possible that one of the candidates will be ahead by 100 or 150 pledged delegates by March 11. The candidate would have to win the February and March delegates by a 55-45 split or larger, but that's certainly a conceivable scenario.

Imagine Obama sweeping February, holding his ground in Ohio and Texas, and winning big in Mississippi the next week. Or imagine Clinton making a strong showing in Washington, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and then cleaning up in Texas.

If one candidate establishes a clear lead, the 6-week slog to Pennsylvania won't be worth it, because there won't be enough delegates left to chart a realistic path to the nomination, and the momentum will be clear.

Then one candidate drops out, and the other candidate takes the rest of the pledged delegates. Same as it usually happens. Just a little later this year.

The superdelegates don't have to do a thing.

Posted by: wall0551 | February 7, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Is there a secondary magic number of 1627 for the pledged delegates only? An argument could be made that if either HRC or Obama reach that number the majority of the superdelegates should back them as they'll reflect the majority of voters.

Posted by: sch2383 | February 7, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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