The Aaron Harber Show

Is it Time for the Elitists to Shut Up?
The Calls for Clinton to Bow Out are Overwhelming

May 7, 2008
By Aaron Harber

Part 1: Will Democrats Remain Divided?

It is fascinating to watch the political pundits and many Democratic Party leaders call for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. There is no question that Obama appears headed for the nomination and could lock up enough Presidential Delegates prior to the Convention in short order if a tidal wave of the remaining uncommitted Super Delegates comes his way. And they will be under immense pressure to do exactly that - a degree of pressure which will be hard to resist or fight off for many Super Delegates.

One argument being made by the elitists calling for an end to the contest for the nomination is their belief a nomination battle which goes to the Democratic Convention in August would hurt the Democrats' chances for a White House victory only 10 weeks later. Could that be true?

Yes, it could, but it is silly to presume all the Democrats supporting one Democratic candidate today are actually going to vote Republican tomorrow. Are many Clinton Democrats saying they would vote for John McCain if Obama gets the nomination and are many Obama Democrats saying they would vote for McCain if Clinton gets the nomination? The answer is a resounding "Yes."

Would these same people actually end up voting for John McCain? The answer is an equally resounding, "No." For a quick historical reference, simply examine what has happened to John McCain. At several points in his campaign - including when his quest for the nomination was declared dead as a doornail by the "experts" only nine months ago - large groups of Republicans made it clear they would vote for the Democratic nominee (even Hillary Clinton, God forbid), if McCain were the nominee.

Today, these same people are in the McCain camp. They have come home because they came to their "Republican senses" and realized they did not want an ultra-liberal Obama or an ultra-Clintonesque Hillary leading the nation, making Supreme Court appointments, and having veto authority along with a Democratic Congress.

Some Obama supporters argue the extraordinary excitement he has generated will be crushed if he is denied the nomination. They argue, if Clinton wins the nomination, she will have "stolen it." Would Obama supporters riot or, at the minimum, be so unhappy they would refuse to support her and would, instead, vote for John McCain?

This is possible but is highly unlikely. What we are hearing are the strong feelings of those emotionally involved in this contest. And what about the sentiments of Clinton's supporters?
What if they thought she should have won? What if they go away from the Convention feeling she got cheated? Would they desert the Democratic Party? No, in the end, they won't do that.

Democrats who passionately support either Clinton or Obama may argue today they could not support the other candidate but, when the chips are down, and they look - as Democrats - at how Republican control of the White House spoiled what they had hoped gaining control of the Congress would do, they all will flock to the side of their nominee no matter who it is.

If any Democratic nominee cannot win the General Election at a time the Economy is struggling, the War in Iraq is confusing, the incumbent Republican President has a rating of and Republicans generally are not in favor, perhaps Democrats do not deserve to win the election.

Part 2: Should Delegates Actually Make The Selection?

Most of the elitists calling for Senator Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination can be characterized as (a) supporting Barack Obama (so you can't blame them - her supporters would be doing the same thing if she were leading), (b) Democrats who fear the democratic process, or (c) political analysts with the need to talk or write about something and have run out of ideas (these are the same brilliant people who gave last rites to John McCain's candidacy several months ago).

The elitists are afraid to allow the Presidential Delegates do what they were elected and selected to do - choose the Democratic nominee. Instead, all kinds of false dates are being proposed when Super Delegates should make their commitments to one of the two candidates rather than taking their time and deciding at or right before the Presidential Convention. In fact, the argument for letting the Super Delegates have more time is the process of vetting the candidates will be more complete by August 25th as opposed to May 25th.

There is so much concern about controlling everything that many Democratic Party leaders want the nomination process completed before Delegates vote - as we all have become accustomed to having been the case every four years. Watching these people frightened by democracy is fascinating, especially when all of them could easily live with either Senator Clinton or Obama as the nominee.

Even more amusing is their unwillingness to admit that, indeed, the passage of time has allowed both candidates to be vetted. In that time period, Senator Obama has begun to appear more of a traditional politician than his supporters would like to see. But is it not better for him to have everything on the table now instead of having Reverend Wright be his Willie Horton in October?

And while the angst about Hillary Clinton's campaign climaxed several weeks ago, many anti-Hillary Democrats were forced to be impressed at how she kept fighting, how she successfully assigned her husband to work in the political backwoods where the Media was too lazy to give him a spotlight (which also proved the viability of her statement about how she would give him assignments if she were the next President), and how she gained ground inch-by-inch. Even with her loss of North Carolina and her narrow win in Indiana, Clinton kept herself in the game.

As someone who has won congressional and statewide elections for positions such as Presidential Delegate, National Credentials Committees, and the Electoral College, I have confidence those elected as Presidential Delegates are fully capable of making a choice at the end of August in Denver, Colorado. It's time for these +4,000 Delegates to actually select their Party's nominee. They don't need to be told what to do.

Party leaders, political pundits, and the elite of America (who all prefer having control of the rest of us and who, because they are so much smarter than we are, know what the right decision is) may have to accept a one-time anomaly in the history of modern American politics - i.e., the selection of a presidential nominee by the actual Delegates elected to make that selection.

This should be Clinton's clarion call - "Let the people (not the elitists) decide." That call alone, a call for real democracy, could make the difference for her in an already close race. Obama realize this and is wisely avoiding direct calls for Clinton to concede victory to him. In fact, his astuteness on this very issue argues heavily in his favor in multiple respects..

So forget the phony dates and fabricated deadlines. Instead, plan on having the Delegates actually make the decision with a "real" vote in August.

Part 3: Can Hillary Clinton Actually Win The Nomination?

One of the most amazing aspects of the elitist calls for Senator Hillary Clinton to abandon her quest for the presidency is the misimpression she trails Senator Barack Obama by an insurmountable margin.

Actually, Senator Clinton trails Senator Obama by only 156 votes out of approximately 4,050 Presidential Delegates. This represents a gap of less than 4% or 52% for Obama and 48% for Clinton - not exactly a landslide.

The question then is, "If Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama evenly split the remaining primary contests, how does either one get the 2,025 Delegates votes needed to secure the nomination?" Assuming she simply splits the remaining popularly-elected and caucus-selected Delegates evenly, there still are many ways Clinton could win the nomination.

First, if Clinton gets 4 out of 5 of the remaining uncommitted Super Delegates, she wins the nomination. This percentage is unlikely but, if one more Reverend Wright-like revelation occurs, it's entirely possible. Super Delegates can change their minds and their votes numerous times.

Second, some Obama Super Delegates might switch to Clinton at the last minute. If just 79 out of 842 Super Delegates (only 9%) change their minds, Clinton wins.

Third, while elected Delegates are supposed to support the candidate they supported, they also are committed to exercising their best judgment. They are free to cast their ballot for whomever they want. If just 79 Obama Delegates out of 2,000 switch to Clinton - a shift of under 4% - she wins the nomination.

Fourth, should everyone be talking about Florida and Michigan? Clinton prudently has begun this dialog in earnest as a defender of both states. With a total of 366 Delegates at stake, it certainly is within the realm of possibility that some or all of the Delegates will be seated and Clinton emerges with a 20- to 40-vote edge.

Even though she "won" the two states electorally in contests which did not count (and, in one case, where Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot), it is likely an initial 50-50 split of Delegates will be the solution. Delegates can vote any way they want so no one can guarantee a 50-50 split of the actual votes cast.

Given Clinton's ferocious effort to seat the two delegations, rather than a 183-183 (50%-50%) split, a 223-143 (61%-39%) split could easily be the final result - giving Clinton an 80-vote advantage. And even that margin could be greater if Obama fights against seating the two delegations.

Fifth, what about the "no show" factor? With almost 4,050 Delegates scheduled to be at the Convention, it would be easy for 3 or 4% to not make it. Given the challenges of air travel today alone, it is entirely possible those Delegates who miss their flights may be more than a day or two late getting to Denver, if they can find a seat at all during a very busy travel period. In the past, bumped passengers often got a seat on the next flight out. These days, with planes often flying at capacity, some passengers now wait days to get to their destinations.

Furthermore, people have illnesses in their families, have children starting school in late August, and may face their own personal problems at this particular time. If a total of only 3% of the Delegates fall into one of these categories, the leanings of the 120 Alternates replacing them could have an impact on the outcome of the contest.

Of course, Senator Clinton does not need just one of these scenarios to come true to win the nomination. Simply a combination of two or more of them with each outcome simply favorable to her could be enough.

For example, if she won 3 out of 5 (60%) of the remaining Super Delegates rather than 85%, that would add 55 votes to her total. If she succeeded in getting a net gain of just 20 Obama Super Delegates to switch at the Convention, that would move her towards her winning majority goal.

If she were able to get just 30 elected Delegates for Obama to support her (i.e., 1½% of his total), that, too might be all she needs. And if 100 Delegates didn't make the Convention and their split went from 55 – 45 Obama to 60 – 40 Clinton simply due to the available Alternate pool (i.e., this presumes some Obama Alternates would cast a vote for Clinton), again she would gain a shift of 20 votes (15 more for her and 15 fewer for Obama).

This modest illustration could give Senator Clinton well over the 2,025 votes needed to secure the nomination. And none of these scenarios is farfetched. It is their combination which makes it more than possible, albeit not likely, that she could win the nomination. My guess is the position to have these days is to serve on the DNC's Credential Committee. What unmitigated fun!

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