In an online chat, the Washington Post‘s Paul Kane says that it’s mathematically impossible for the rest of the Democratic primaries to determine a nominee:
Ohio is not at all where Clinton could wrap things up. We’ve done a bad job of explaining this, but it is now basically mathematically impossible for either Clinton or Obama to win the nomination through the regular voting process (meaning the super-delegates decide this one, baby!). Here’s the math. There are 3,253 pledged delegates, those doled out based on actual voting in primaries and caucuses. And you need 2,025 to win the nomination. To date, about 55% of those 3,253 delegates have been pledged in the voting process — with Clinton and Obamb roughly splitting them at about 900 delegates a piece. That means there are now only about 1,400 delegates left up for grabs in the remaining states and territories voting.
So, do the math. If they both have about 900 pledged delegates so far, they need to win more than 1,100 of the remaining 1,400 delegates to win the nomination through actual voting. Ain’t gonna happen, barring a stunning scandal or some new crazy revelation. So, they’ll keep fighting this thing out, each accumulating their chunk of delegates, one of them holding a slight edge and both finishing the voting process with 1,600 or so delegates. And then the super delegates decide this thing.
I don’t dispute Kane’s numbers, but I do think that if either Clinton or Obama wins all three of the megastates left to vote (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas), or if one of them ends up with a clear majority of all primary votes cast this season (so far, Clinton has 47.8 percent and Obama has 44.9 percent, according to Dave Leip’s Atlas of US Presidential Election
), that person will be the nominee. A brokered convention would be fun, but there’s no way it’s going to happen if the later primaries produce a conclusive result, regardless of how the delegates are awarded. Count me as a momentucrat, not an arithmecrat (see this Slate.com article
by Timothy Noah to learn the difference).
Thanks to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire for tipping us off to the Kane quote.