So, the expected happened in Pennsylvania. Now what?
First, the next step depends on the numbers. How much did Hillary Clinton win by? The larger the margin of victory the more â€œmomentumâ€ Clinton will have. Of course that momentum is really just about the superdelegates. Her only chance of winning the nomination is to convince enough party insiders that she is the more viable candidate.
Her best argument coming out of Pennsylvania is that she is continuing to show strength with the blue collar and rural voters who, because of social issues, may be the types of voters more likely to go Republican in the general election. Unfortunately for her, that is just speculation.
As far as Iâ€™m concerned, both Clinton and Barack Obama have an equal chance of winning this November. Theyâ€™ll build different but similarly viable coalitions of voters. Even if Clinton takes Pennsylvania by double digits, superdelegates canâ€™t, in good conscience, assume sheâ€™ll pose a tougher challenge to John McCain. The results of Pennsylvania are and have always been just one snapshot out of many. The schedule of these primaries simply makes the state seem more important.
Clinton will undoubtedly use this victory to position herself as the candidate of momentum and Obama will undoubtedly minimize the significance of yet another big-state loss. But this race is in the hands of party insiders now and they each have to make a decision based on their own principles. The â€œwill of the peopleâ€ is too close to call.