Drop Out, Obama

A campaign blog.
April 24 2008 11:52 AM

Drop Out, Obama

Even as Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates, the popular vote, and number of states won, she has made it clear that she plans to stay in the race for the nomination. All of which brings me to this logical conclusion: It is time for Barack Obama to drop out.

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If Clinton had the good of the Democratic Party in mind, she would have given up her bid the day after the Mississippi primary, which Obama won by 25 points . The delegate math was as dismal for her campaign then as it is now , even after Pennsylvania, and she was facing down a six-week gulf before the next election.

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But Hillary Clinton isn’t going to drop out. There simply isn’t a function in her assembly code for throwing in the towel.

Obama, on the other hand, is fully capable of it. And if he’s really serious about representing a new kind of politics, now is the time for him to prove it in the only meaningful way left. Moreover, were he to play it right, dropping out now nearly guarantees that he’ll be elected president in 2012. Here’s the roadmap:

Obama drops out next week, stating that although he could almost certainly win the nomination by fighting it out until the convention in August, he is simply not willing to drag the party through a battle that will cripple its chances against John McCain. He then pledges to help support Sen. Clinton in her bid—with full knowledge that she will not take him up on the offer.

In one stroke, Obama will regain his messiah creds by making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the party. His followers will be furious. The mere mention of Clinton’s name will provoke unspeakable acts. They will abandon Clinton in numbers sufficient to hand McCain the election in November.

Losing the presidency again after eight years of Bush will ruin the Democratic Party. It will become obvious that Clinton’s decision to stay in the race was the turning point in the election. The base will turn its wrath on party leaders like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, who failed to push Clinton out. Obama, as the de facto head of the party, will broker negotiations to install new leaders loyal to him.

McCain will be eminently more beatable in 2012. Demographics will continue to shift in Obama’s favor as his 14- to 17-year-old supporters come of voting age. Anyone foolish enough to challenge Obama for the nomination—and don’t rule out Clinton—will go nowhere. Obama’s utopian vision for a Democratic party unified around him will be complete. QED. 

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.

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