Alan and Justin are asking questions like Are we done yet? and Is it over?. They are being rhetorical, but being the helpful sort, I’ll answer it anyway. It’s over. In February, I wrote that Clinton still had a clear path to the nomination, as long as the Clinton “story” was intact:

“As long as she wins the popular vote The Story stays intact. The Story is all that matters to her campaign now. The Story that Clinton wins all the big states except Illinois. The Story that momentum has shifted. The Story that Hillary Clinton is the new “comeback kid“. That story is all that is needed to provide political cover for the superdelegates to vote for Clinton at the convention. Even a 200 elected delegate lead for Obama is the equivalent of a dead even tie, as long as The Story is intact.”

The Story indeed remained intact after the Ohio and Texas primary. The Story remained intact after the Pennsylvania primary. Last night, in North Carolina and Indiana, The Story turned into Humpty Dumpty, and came tumbling down. Although she finished with a narrow victory in Indiana, her momentum was broken, and more importantly, the popular vote plurality is now out of reach. Obama’s big popular vote victory in North Carolina, combined with her razor thin margin of victory in Indiana, means that the Michigan and Florida totals no longer matter.

Even if Clinton includes Michigan and Florida in her totals, Obama will finish with a popular vote plurality. The Obama campaign can now be magnanimous, agree to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, count the votes, and it still does not matter. With no momentum and no popular vote plurality, there is no story. With no story, there is nothing to keep the superdelegates from declaring for Obama. Humpty Dumpty is not getting put back together.

Oh, and along the way I may have a made a few predictions that proved to be, um… what’s the word I am looking for? Wrong. And Justin made some predictions that were right.

In that same February post, we quoted Mary Matlin on Meet the Press with this refinement to the The Story:

“If she wins both states, even fractionally, she can say he [Obama] can’t close the deal.” – Mary Matlin

He didn’t close the deal in Ohio, Texas, and the media began asking the question posed by Mary Matlin. He didn’t close the deal in Pennsylvania despite outspending Clinton three to one, and more questions were asked. Last night, Obama closed the deal. No more questions. We have a presumptive Democratic Party nominee.

A few additional thoughts on last night’s results …

Despite the fact that the leaked Feb 5th Obama campaign strategy memo said that Obama expected to win Indiana by 7 points, and despite the fact that Obama called Indiana a “tiebreaker” two weeks ago, the Clinton campaign badly mismanaged the “expectation” game. Hillary herself must take much of the blame with her “game-changer” comment last Friday.

In the same MTP show with Mary Matlin, Mike Murphy explained an interesting Clinton campaign phenomena:

“She’s got one thing working for her, that is the near death experience phenomena this year – every time it looks like the perils of Pauline., the trains coming, she has a rescue.” – Mike Murphy

In Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania the Clintons explicitly stated that if they did not win, the race was over. The voters chose to continue the contest. In Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton told the voters that they could “change the game” and give her the nomination. The voters chose to end the contest in Obama’s favor.

Finally, we learned that in 2008, Rush Limbaugh using his radio pulpit to rally his audience in support any Presidential candidate, whether Republican or Democrat, is the kiss of death. He called for his “dittoheads” to support Romney over McCain, and failed. Strike one. He called for his “dittoheads” to vote for Clinton over Obama to extend the nomination process, and failed. Strike two.

McCain can only hope and pray that Rush Limbaugh keeps his word and supports the Democratic nominee over McCain in the general election.

X-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall

  • TerenceC

    Good one! Defeating the Clintons within the Democratic party is about as tough as a political campaign can get – this campaign will be a text book case for arrogance, assumption, and foregone conclusion for a long time to come. No one to blame but herself frankly. So, based upon the state of this country and the world at large – will you support Obama or be one of 38% that turns toward the darkness once again?

  • crat3

    The black racism in the North Carolina win cannot triumph over the nomination process. The Indiana win of a mere 9 counties by Obama out of more than 100 counties cannot triumph over the nomination process. Florida and Michigan must be counted; the remaining states must vote; and the superdelegates must then use their independent judgment to select the best qualified candidate for the presidency and that is Hillary Clinton. The fight for the future of America continues full speed ahead. Rational Democrats need to step up to the plate and make frequent contributions to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

  • mw

    I am going to do some fishing in Michigan at the end of May, eat some good food staying with friends in the south of France in early June, then assess the situation with a fresh eye this summer. I think I’ll take a break from writing about the election until we get into the general. Of course my views of “lightness” and “darkness” are a bit more nuanced than yours.

    Obama’s campaign will permit counting and seating MI and FL. It doesn’t matter now, he still wins the popular vote and delegates, and the supes have no political cover to support Clinton. That is why it is over. Clinton knows it. They may still play out the Kabuki Theater of the remaining primaries, in coordination with the Obama campaign, – it’ll help retire campaign debt and it helps energize, organize and register more Dems for the fall. But there will be no more blood-letting. Both will just be going through the motions. If you want to send her money to help retire the debt, by all means, go ahead. She fought a good fight.

  • Ricck Balswald

    Lets see….
    Do I vote for the young Marxist with very little political experience?
    Do I vote for the old woman who will mess up the health field and is a crook?
    Do I vote to the old man who does not know his conservative base?

    This stinks.