early and often

But Will the Endless Race Tear the Party Apart?

Tough Hillary

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Woooo! Hillary won! Things are going to be exciting now. She’s back in it to win it. Or is she? As the confetti settles from last night, pundits have begun repeating their long-practiced warnings: In order to really capture the nomination, Hillary still has to pull some political moves that will tear the Democratic party asunder. Whether it’s a continued onslaught of attack ads, a bid to seat Michigan and Florida delegates, or a last-minute coup of the election by superdelegates, many are still afraid of what Clinton’s actions might mean for the party base.

• Jonathan Alter does the math using Slate’s Delegate Calculator (predicting generous Clinton victories), and still thinks she can’t win without superdelegates, even if she gets a rerun in Michigan and Florida. [Newsweek]
• Charles Hurt, who called Hill the “strife of the party,” warns that if superdelegates actually do give her the nomination despite overwhelming demand for Obama, “many of his supporters — including the party’s crucial bloc of black voters — will desert the party.” [NYP]

• Meanwhile, Marc Cooper carries out the inevitable conclusion for “steely-eyed” Democrats: that such a win by Hillary will mean a later win by McCain. [HuffPo]
• In what could be a harbinger of the sort of tactic some are afraid of, heading into yesterday, Hillary Clinton started hustling to get members of Congress to hold off on announcing for Obama, even if their minds were made up. Then the campaign floated the notion that they have a huge amount of superdelegates of their own to roll out today (a claim an Obama aide said is a “prank” and “not true”). [Politico]
• And the voting public is already begging to react, despite whichever lever they pulled. It turns out that the majority of Ohio and Texas voters said in exit polls thought they that Clinton’s successful anti-Obama ads were “unfair,” and they angered many. [McClatchy]
• Obama spokesman Bill Burton egged on pundits, claiming that Hillary’s chances of “regaining the delegate lead actually decreased [last night], as the number of delegates remaining dwindles.” [National Review]
• But Kevin Drum at CBS News argues that if you look back at the 1968 primary, which was long and brutal, the Democrats still made a strong (if eventually losing) national showing. As Drum says, “Chill out, everybody.” [CBS News]

Related: Clinton Rallies, But Does It Matter?,
Clinton’s Base Returns in Force, and at Just The Right Moment
Heilemann: Clinton Fights Tooth and Nail to Raise Just Enough Doubt About Obama
Will Obama Be Able to Enter Hand-to-Hand Combat?

But Will the Endless Race Tear the Party Apart?