John Dickerson takes questions from readers wondering when the Democratic race will end.

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
May 23 2008 11:48 AM

Our Primary Concerns

John Dickerson takes questions from readers wondering when the Democratic race will end.

(Continued from Page 3)

John Dickerson: That's a good point which is why the whole delegations are not going to be sat. It would look goofy—you're out, no, now you're in. They'll find a middle ground and the new delegate threshold will be 2,100 something or 2,118 but not the full 2,210 that Clinton wants.

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Washington: In any negotiation, both parties have to be able to bring something to the table. Clearly, Obama can offer Clinton almost anything short of the presidency to get her to get out. What cards does Clinton have to play at this point, aside from conceding the nomination (which she already has lost)? In other words, why should Obama offer her anything, and not instead just let her continue on in futility?

John Dickerson: Clinton has a large and loyal following, particularly of women, who back her and who Obama will need in the fall.

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Washington: On Wednesday the Washington Post ran a story suggesting that Sen. Clinton may graciously back down should Sen. Obama offer her the first slot open on the Supreme Court. Assuming that age is not a factor (wouldn't President Obama be inclined to nominate someone in their late-40s or early-50s to balance Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts?), would this be tantalizing enough for Sen. Clinton to enthusiastically back Sen. Obama? Is there any precedence for promising a position on the court to a rival for the nomination? Finally, could you even make such a deal public in an effort to rally Sen. Clinton's supporters to back Sen. Obama?

washingtonpost.com: Next Stop, Supreme Court?(Post, May 21)

John Dickerson: It's a great notion but I'm not sure he could promise her in a way that would be iron clad, but he could float it. Or, more to the point, his team could float it in the papers to see if she is up for it, or to see if it mollifies her supporters a bit.

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Clinton certainly has benefited from her gender...: And Obama hasn't benefited from his race? Come on now.

John Dickerson: Clinton can have benefited from her gender and Obama can have benefited from his race. It is a world with many possibilities.

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Bethesda, Md.: The latest I have heard is that the Clinton camp does not want any of the "uncommitted" delegates from Michigan to go to Obama. How much more chicanery can this campaign get away with?

John Dickerson: The answer to that question depends on what the Democratic party Rules and Bylaws Committee decides on the 31st.

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Minnesota: It has been said that the only thing that makes candidates drop out is when they run out of money. Is there a point when Clinton hits the financial wall and has to concede?

John Dickerson: When the $109 million dries up. You could argue though that the race is cheaper now. You don't need that many more ads, though the GOTV effort in Puerto Rico will be huge since a big Clinton win there might help her otherwise far fetched claim that she's gotten more votes in this race.

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Tough crowd for Hillary: Last time I looked, Hillary and Obama have the support of Democratic voters split almost neatly in half. Of course Obama needs to consider how to end this race without alienating her base. It's half of his own party. People on this chat act like this isn't a close race with repercussions that will impact either winning side. She's not Huckabee or Ron Paul—she has won a huge amount of votes.

John Dickerson: I agree. Obama wants their votes and he wants the image of unity and forward progress. He doesn't want lingering resentment.

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John Dickerson: Thanks all of you for your questions. I enjoyed it. I hope you did too.

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