Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why Hillary's "Still in the Race"

She's not.

But she's a smart politician. And even though it's now even more mathematically obvious than it has been before that she's not going to get the nomination, she can't come out and concede just yet.

Well, she could, but that's not her best, self-interested move. Dropping out today would be the equivalent of walking away from the roulette table, but leaving her chips behind.

She has political capital to spend. She can ask the question of the Democratic establishment and the Obama camp, "What will you give me if I end it now?". Actually, she's more likely to enter the negotiation with a clear list of demands, some of which are there only to be discarded as negotiating chips. "I'll drop out now, and try to rally my white, blue collar, economic protectionist rhetoric-loving supporters to you, if you: 1) Appoint me to the Supreme Court at the earliest opportunity, 2) ..."

She's working on her exist strategy. She's formulating her demands. She can stay in until W. VA, or she can exit before W. VA, and use her time in W. VA to help Obama with the constituency with which he's performed least well: Rednecks Less educated, white, blue collar, socially conservative theists with guns. It's an important negotiating chip.

I predict she'll bow out before the last primaries, and negotiate some seating of the MI and FL delegations (which will contractually give enough of their support to Obama so as not to upset the nomination), and call that "keeping her promise to the people of MI and FL" in an act of pre-2012 pandering. She won't hijack the convention.

She's going to lay the ground work for an "I told you so" run in 2012. So she'll start mending fences with the Democratic party now. But such a shift in personal career strategy, from "win in 2008" to "win in 2012" requires some thinking. Once she's got a new plan, she'll move on it, and, once she's gotten as much as she can for promising to get out of Obama's way, she'll drop out.