The Plank

Should Obama Be Looking For Delegates Or Votes?


Over at The Stump, Noam has a post on the two campaigns' closing day strategies in Pennsylvania. Jumping off today's excellent NYT article on the subject, Noam adds:

So far as I can tell, Obama is spending most
of the day in the western part of the state. At first glance, you might
wonder why he'd waste his time there, given that he's likely to lose
many of those counties by at least 20 points. But, as the article
suggests, that's exactly the point. Hillary would have to win the local
congressional districts by better than a 60-40 margin (I think) to
really pile up delegates. If Obama can hold her a liittle closer, he
has a chance of making the delegate haul from Pennsylvania into
something close to a draw.

Yes, but is that really the best strategy? At this point in the campaign, Hillary Clinton has two possible routes to victory, one of them being a giant scandal. The other is that she wins the popular vote, and wins over superdelegates and voters angry over Florida in 2000 and frusturated by the Party's insane delegate-allocation rules. So, if I were Obama, I wouldn't much care about the delegate count tomorrow night; instead, I'd be trying to run up my numbers in the most populous counties. After all, it doesn't matter one bit whether Obama goes into the convention ahead of Senator Clinton by 120 or 110 or 105 pledged delegates. Clinton needs a political earthquake, and a come-from-behind popular vote win may be her only chance. 

--Isaac Chotiner 

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