The Plank

Texas And Ohio Won't Decide The Democratic Race

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Floating around coverage of the Democratic primary is this notion that nothing really matters until Texas and Ohio. Or, at least, to the extent that Barack Obama's victories in the primaries that precede Ohio and Texas matter, it's only to help him build momentum for Ohio and Texas, when all the real delegates are at stake. Here's an entirely typical passage from today's Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton, effectively tied with Obama in delegates and facing difficult races the rest of this month, is looking to gain any possible advantage to slow her rival's momentum until March 4, when the campaign reaches what her aides believe will be friendlier territory in the Ohio and Texas primaries.

What you'd never get from reading this coverage is that Ohio and Texas aren't that much more important than other states.The states that Obama won over the weekend had a total of 185 pledged delegates. Tomorrow's primary states have 168. That's a total of 353 delegates. Ohio and Texas, meanwhile, combine for 334 delegates. (That's my back of the envelope calculation from the numbers at wikipedia.)

And Obama won enormous blowout victories over the weekend, and is up by double digits Tuesday. So even if Clinton wins Texas and Ohio, it will be impossible for her to make up just the delegate advantage Obama has won and should win over these few days.

Update: I had a typo in the original post, indicating Ohio and Texas combined for 224 delegates. It has been corrected. Some colleagues were running out to grab lunch and I was hurrying to finish while they waited.

--Jonathan Chait

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