7% Solution

My aforementioned Clinton insider confirmed rumors that both ongoing Dem campaigns are considering cabinet positions – or even, please, Attorney General – for John Edwards.

That’s right, John Edwards, who took 7% of the vote in WV despite a turnout that reflects Obama’s inevitability vibes AND despite Hillary’s contrived solidarity with the people of Appalachia.

Meanwhile, while Chris Matthews and Terry Mcaullife are having it out in a ‘who’s a bigger wanker’ derby (spoiler: it’s the latter), emergent smartest guy on MSNBC Chuck Todd describes how the timing of Edwards’ withdrawal, and his subsequent non-endorsement, was one of five factors that sunk Hillary.

Continuing our look at how Clinton got to this point… John Edwards hasn’t endorsed Obama. In fact, for a while, the thinking was that if he’d endorse anyone, it would be Clinton. But in our latest installment of some of the big — yet underappreciated — turning points in the Democratic nominating race, we look at how Edwards ended up greatly helping Obama, by deciding to stay in the race after New Hampshire and then exit it before Super Tuesday. Throughout the Dem contest, this fact often was overlooked: Edwards won South Carolina in 2004. And four years later, per the exit polls, he narrowly beat Clinton among whites, 40%-36%, with Obama getting 24%. Obama ended up getting 78% of the African-American vote, which fueled his victory. But with Edwards and Clinton essentially splitting the white vote, that resulted in Obama’s overwhelming 55%-27% win over Clinton — which was the biggest victory of the first four Dem contests. Had Edwards withdrawn beforehand, the results might have more mirrored the 55%-43% black-white split in the race, which wouldn’t have been as impressive a win for Obama and may have led others to echo Bill Clinton’s inarticulate attempt at marginalizing Obama’s South Carolina victory.

*** Three’s a crowd? Then, heading into Super Tuesday, Edwards dropped out of the race, which raised this question: Would his exit benefit Clinton (because the white vote would no longer be split) or would it benefit Obama (because the anti-Clinton vote would no longer be split)? Well, even though Clinton won states like California, New Jersey, and New York, Edwards’ departure clearly helped Obama: The Illinois senator won more contests and netted more delegates on a day that always seemed to favor Clinton. But would Obama have enjoyed as much success if Edwards had stayed in the race? How many delegates would Edwards had netted in the big states which might have come more out of Obama’s count than Clinton’s. As they say, timing can be everything…

One Response to “7% Solution”

  1. nuge Says:

    I liked Chuck Todd’s work on those C-SPAN bits he did, was really into that stuff in grad. school.

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