Monday, May 05, 2008

Will Clinton "detonate" her nuclear option?

News stories discussing Clinton's supposed "nuclear option" are popping up all over the MSM and the blogosphere. Here, here, and here.

The Nuclear Option refers to the upcoming DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee meeting scheduled for late May where they'll discuss how to deal with the Florida and Michigan primaries. Clinton supporters make up at least 50% of the committee, and they have the option of proposing a straight up or down vote on whether to seat the delegates from those contests that the DNC had previously ruled invalid because they moved the dates to before February 5th. Obama (along with most other Democratic hopefuls) removed his name voluntarily from the Michigan ballot; and while both Clinton and Obama agreed to not campaign in Florida, Clinton made appearances at several big dollar fund raisers.

The resulting delegates would give Clinton roughly a 55-delegate lead over Obama.

The use of the nuke option might have disastrous results for Clinton and the Democratic Party.

First, many Obama supporters would feel cheated by Clinton's strong-armed tactics, and fail to support her should she win the nomination. Also, there are probably quite a few Hillary supporters who would be disgusted by this obvious "gaming of the system" to get her the nod, and might similarly either defect to Obama or McCain. And it would send a strong signal to unaffiliated voters that Clinton doesn't go by the rules of fair play.

No doubt the results of a pure Clinton ruling would damage the Party, perhaps fatally, in regard to the November election.

There are some other options available. They can possibly use one of the many suggested solutions to the Florida/Michigan mess, which wouldn't be so blatantly unfair but still seat those states' delegates. Also, Hillary may lose badly in tomorrow's North Carolina primary and suffer from a very close margin in Indiana, which would further increase Obama's lead by perhaps 15-20 delegates from his current 137 delegate lead. Plus, John Edwards is probably going to support the popular winner in North Carolina, so his supporters may follow giving Obama a significant boost. Clinton may decide that nuking the party wouldn't be worth the bad publicity and negative effects on any future campaigns she might run.

There is the added consideration that a good many of Clinton's supporters on the rules committee might actually wish to continue to have a career in politics, so being a part of what would essentially be perceived by party faithful as a "beer hall putsch" might endanger their future exploits.

And it could be that even Clinton will realize that "winning at any cost" goes against the spirit of the Democratic Party, and she'll voluntarily work to find a solution that's fair and equitable to the reality of the situation.

By this time on Wednesday, we'll all probably have a better idea of where this situation is headed. A substantial Clinton win in Indiana along with a win or tie in North Carolina might signal an increase in her supporter's calls for a full capitulation on the DNC's part. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

"Game" away Hillary. She's still most qualified to be president and has deeper support. This proportional representation system is systemically flawed - to say the least.

As a Hillary supporter she has my support 100%!

CT Bob said...

We do have to do something about this awful "super delegate" system, and fix the way they schedule primaries. I really hate how the Democratic Party always seems to catch on that something might become a problem only AFTER it's already a problem.

All things being equal, this is definitely the most interesting political year I can remember.

Rambling Johnny said...

That not the Nuke option that the MAD option. Has in Mutually. Assured. Destruction. That the Clintons game plan if they cannot get the prize no one will!

CT Bob said...

Well, SOME one will get the prize.

Someone with an "R" after their name.