Pennsylvania voters today might well make the state into a kingmaker if it votes Obama. An Obama victory, by even one vote, will send Hillary from the race. Her money will dry up and her superdelegate count will no longer be there to make her candidacy viable.
Here’s how it stacks up:
If Hillary wins by 15%, she will cut into the state’s delegate divvying process and make a valid claim on superdelegates. If she wins by 10%-15%, she will credibly claim a solid victory even tho the delegate count will remain pretty much where it is.
If Barack loses but comes within 10 points, he can credibly make the claim that Hillary should pack up and go. By coming within 10 points he dampens her expectations game and cuts into her claims to have landed a solid victory. More important, the delegate count will be split 50-50 more or less.
If Barack wins by one vote, all Hillary can claim is that he outspent her, which is true, but so what. He outspent her with contributions from mostly small donors who will continue giving. Bottom line, he will continue to outspend her and thus continue to win. so this boat won’t float.
Here is the larger test in Pennsylvania; the test of a new politics. Obama is claiming a new politics, and the voters of Pennsylvania have already responded. 4.1 million registered democrats this season, up 11% over ’04. The 4.1 million is 50% of all Pa. voters, as compared to the 39% Republican registered voters. Since January, the state has witnessed 217,000 new voters, and 178,000 have changed arty affiliation. In the last week before the registration deadline, the democratic party got 33,000 new registrations, and 46,000 changed parties.
Clearly, John McCain is not the reason for this mad rush to register. Commentary suggests that Hillary’s historic candidacy is also not the cause, which leaves us with Obama as inspiration and most likely the recipient of a majority of these new voters. Since his candidacy is largely responsible for unprecedented increases in democratic party registration, particularly among ‘unlikely’ voters, which is something all democrats and their funders crave, it is simply unimaginable to see this new politics aligning with anybody but Barack. Unless, of course there is no new politics.
The one thing I cannot figure is why, given a new politics, the polling hasn’t yet shown an Obama lead. Let’s see what happens.