This much is clear: Hillary Clinton will fight onto until the end of the presidential primary race asserting she is still the stronger candidate (as she has done again today). However, if as many suggest she can not win (despite pulling in almost 50% of the popular vote) after failing to win big win in Indiana, and as super delegates drift away, then there are three possibilities as to why she continues to run.
It has been suggested that she does so to increase her influence within the Democratic Party and powerbase in Washington; to run a possible 2012 campaign or the third option is the possible long shot, but increasingly discussed, Clinton and Barack Obama dream ticket.
Harold Ford, a former U.S. congressman who is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council said earlier this week: “It’s something that this party is going to have to think very seriously about in the next few weeks.”
Obama, who is said to have resisted the idea privately, fuelled the talk himself yesterday, telling CNN that Clinton is “an extraordinary candidate … so obviously she’d be on anybody’s short list to be a potential vice presidential candidate”.
George Stephanopoulos, former aide to Bill Clinton and now ABC’s Sunday morning host, reported yesterday top Clinton aides were eager to discuss a peace treaty contingent on the joint ticket.
According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released last week, a majority of both Obama and Clinton voters say they would favour a so-called “Dream Ticket” involving both candidates.
“People are stopping to ask themselves, why just nominate someone who has 51 percent of the vote, when we can nominate a ticket that has 100 percent of the vote?” said Sam Arora, spokesman for Vote Both, a group trying to foster a joint ticket between the two top Democrats, told Reuters.
It would pose problems for Obama as well as opportunities. It would put Clinton close to him with the West Wing and the VP’s office just a stone’s throw away from the Oval office and she would want something meaty to own politically detracting from his presidency.
The opportunity is that with Clinton on the ticket she can ensure that white working class and women voters are locked down and do not drift to Republican John McCain, which could cost Obama his shot at the White House.
But all this is a long way off as her campaign manager Terry McAuliffe reminded people this morning after ridiculing Obama’s assertion that a victory in Oregon on May 20 could effectively wrap up the Democratic nomination.
McAuliffe said Obama can celebrate all he wants that night, but there is no official nominee until someone gets 2,025 delegates — or in the calculation of the Clinton camp, 2,209 delegates, if the disputed delegates from Florida and Michigan are counted.
The Clinton camp this morning also released a “Dear Fellow Democrats” letter from 16 US House members supporting her that reinforces her argument that she would be the stronger nominee in what is likely to be a very close November election because she is winning primaries in key battleground states and is winning among blue-collar swing voters.