There's No Good Reason for Hillary to Drop Out of '08 Race

There is a sentiment in some parts of the blogosphere that Hillary Clinton should drop out of the campaign, "for the good of the party." The various aspects of the argument go as follows:


1. Clinton cannot win unless she convinces delegates to thwart the popular vote, which would invariably anger many people in the party and create lasting divisions for some time to come.
2. Clinton can only win by going nuclear on Obama in a way that will damage the party via right-wing arguments that will damage the party for a long time to come.
3. We need a nominee early enough in order to start directly taking on John McCain.
4. Obama has stronger coattails, and nominating him will help Democrats downticket in more areas of the country than Clinton.
5. Given her low chance to become President at this point, Clinton should start working on building her future position in the party through means other than a presidential campaign.
I disagree with all of these arguments. In fact, I think arguing for Hillary Clinton to drop out is counter-productive at this juncture for the party, and even for Barack Obama. A distinction needs to be made between the dangers of running a destructive campaign, and of the dignity in running a long-shot campaign. In the extended entry, I counter these arguments point by point:
1. Without a single more superdelegate making an endorsement, it is still possible for Clinton to move pretty close in the delegate count. I presented this case yesterday in a table projecting future delegate counts based on current polling in remaining states, which shows Clinton down by 79 delegates when all the voting is completed. However, it should be pointed out that it is also possible for Clinton to surpass current delegate projections and polling. She could, for example, net 18 more delegates in Michigan, 16 more delegates in PA, 12 more in Indiana, 10 more in Florida, 6 more in North Carolina, 4 more in both Puerto Rico and Oregon, and 2 more in West Virginia, Montana, and Kentucky. All told, that would put her within three delegates of Obama. If that winning streak also results in her winning the national popular vote, then she would have an overwhelming argument to bring to superdelegates based on both momentum and the popular will.

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