Clinton Does It, But Does It Matter?

Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary Tuesday by about 10 points, giving her campaign a shot in the arm and guaranteeing that she’ll stay in the race at least through Indiana and North Carolina in May, and probably the Democratic National Convention in August.

(Check Blake Rutherford’s Pennsylvania live blog from last night here.)

Clinton’s win over Barack Obama gives her a fresh new set of talking points to carry forward. Among them: Why couldn’t Obama, with his millions in the bank, close the deal in Pennsylvania? Also, there’s the matter of who’s voting for who. Once again, Clinton showed strength among what’s considered the “classic Democrat” voter: middle-class, blue-collar whites. Obama dominated among blacks, young voters and recent Democrat registrants.

No doubt Obama’s comments about middle-class voters “clinging” to God and guns didn’t help matters. But they didn’t seem to hurt much, either. Obama had been 20 points behind in Pennsylvania. Among his talking points today: he closed the gap in a competitive race.

And then there’s the matter of simple math. Clinton still cannot win by the popular vote and delegate count. From Slate today:

Before the votes were tallied, Clinton and her aides were saying, slightly desperately, that her victory would be important no matter what the margin. “A win is a win,” they said over and again. They were clinging to the idea of mathematical certainty, a strategy that made no sense because, in the larger race, it is her opponent who has the ironclad numerical advantage. Barack Obama leads Clinton in delegates, victories, and the popular vote, and it’s almost impossible for her to catch up.

That’s even truer after tonight.

So the central drama of this never-ending campaign remains: what will the superdelegates do, and what does the August convention hold? Last night’s results did little to change that.

Also: From the Wall Street Journal, a look at how the delegates will be awarded in Pennsylvania.


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