The End Of The "Firewall"

Jonathan Garthwaite
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Posted: Feb 20, 2008 7:26 AM
The moment Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin, it was over. Actually it might have been over before that now comes the fall.  She had held onto the coalition of low-income, rural, senior citizen women in the Potomac primaries but it fell apart in Wisconsin.  From the exit poll data, it looks like the only people who voted for her were over 65.  She lost every other demographic group.  Virginia and Maryland were the mathematical death blows but Wisconsin was the demographic death blow. 

The next two weeks should be her last as a presidential candidate.   Obama will play four-corners in the CNN debate on Thursday and try to avoid a fatal gaffe and we'll likely see Clinton flailing and grasping for any issue to hit Obama with.   Or, she sees the writing on the wall and will signal her shift back to statesman senator on Thursday.

Why?  Because it's looking like her Texas and Ohio firewalls are going to do what Florida did to Giuliani.

First, Texas is looking bad.  While some polls have her up by a dozen or more points, one has them even.  Not good when all the modeling says she needs to win 60-40.   Add to that the realization that Texas apportions delegates in a manner that hugely benefits Obama's core support in urban areas.  If she doesn't win by 10 pts or more, Obama could walk away with the delegates.

And if Wisconsin is a signal of Obama's ability to cut into Hillary's base, she's in trouble in Ohio.   If she can lose by 18 in Wisconsin, Ohio is going to crumble over the next two weeks.

All the talk of superdelegate drama will become merely hopeful speculation by the ratings driven media.  This thing is over.  It's just a matter of waiting until Hillary accepts it.

One thing though -- While there's almost zero chance of a Hillary presidency, it may still be interesting to watch the Democratic convention.   While the superdelegates will flock to Obama during the roll call vote on the nomination, there will still be plenty of battles over speech assignments and the party platform.   And on those votes, Obama's forces will be in the minority.