Hillary, honey, the magic number in Pennsylvania was still is 20. Actually it was more like 30, but there was a good-spirited willingness to give you a bit of a pass. Now your magic number in every other primary is 40. That is, you need to beat Obama 70%-30%. In. Every. Single. One. It ain’t gonna happen.
Your surrogate-in-chief said that you needed to “win big” in both Ohio and Texas to stay in the race. You won big in Ohio and decided to soldier on. That’s okay. I wasn’t one of those who were calling on you to suspend your campaign. You had a big lead, 25-30 points, in Pennsylvania. As you told the PA voters, you are almost a hometown girl. You’re a senator in a neighboring state. It’s an old, uneducated population—your kind of voters. Bill was already there doing your advance work. It wasn’t realistic to ask you to quit then.
Then the Obama campaign rolled into Pennsylvania and your lead got smaller and smaller as it has in every state. No matter how you talk it or spin it or whirl it. Sure, you won the primary Tuesday night—not by 25 points or 20 points or even double digits, by about 9%. But you lost the nomination that night.
This is really tough on the mainstream media who so want your campaign to continue. When you acknowledge that Senator Obama has won, what on earth will they talk about? Issues? Gawd, no! Plus they love the bloody stuff.
It’s even tougher on the Repubs who desperately need you to be the Democratic nominee. It’s the only chance they have to energize their constituents for Grumpy McCain, a candidate they don’t like very much: run against a candidate they hate. Repubs declared you the Democratic nominee almost four years ago and with Gingrich-like persistancy made you the front-runner even before you declared. They dream of running against you.
And it has to be the very toughest on you personally. Your candidacy may have started as a Republican joke (or a vast right-wing conspiracy?); but when the primary season got under way, you had a double-digit national lead. You had name recognition, a spouse who was still loved by many Democrats, a national infrastructure and fund-raising machine, money coming in, “experience” as First Lady. Sure you had unheard of negatives for a presidential candidate. But there was no electable Republican candidate on the horizon, and Little Bush was in a death spiral. To paraphrase Kinky Friedman, “How hard can this be?”
Then this upstart junior senator, wet behind the ears, comes along and steals the game. It was supposed to be your turn. How could you know that a once-in-a-generation leader would show up uninvited to your party? You have every right to be sad. To be angry. Maybe—dare I say it—even bitter?
But it’s over. You have no end game for winning the nomination that won’t destroy the Democratic Party. You can’t catch up in the popular vote. (No, sweetheart, you can’t count Florida and Michigan.) You can’t catch up in pledged delegates. You can’t catch up in states won. You just can’t catch up. Period. You have no legitimate electablity argument. You’re behind by 20% in national Democratic polls. You aren’t trusted by a majority of Democrats. You’ve had a nice fundraising bump these past few days, but even then you haven’t raised enough to pay the bills. Your campaign is still broke.
So what’s it to be? Leave with dignity, on an up note, and be part of forging a new Democratic party with the heritage and values of the old party and the fresh sounds of new voices and new ideas?
Or will you insist on slashing and burning and Roving—destroying a great moment for your party—until the party elders gather together and drag you to the sidelines kicking and screaming? What a waste that would be.