Why Hillary Won’t Drop Out

A campaign blog.
May 7 2008 1:21 AM

Why Hillary Won’t Drop Out

In tonight’s Deathwatch , I asked, "Clinton pledged to stay in the race. The question is, why?"

The answer is pretty clear, I now realize, if you look at the upcoming primary calendar . Next Tuesday, West Virginia votes. Polls are sparse , but Clinton is expected to win. A week later comes Kentucky, where Clinton has a massive lead , and Oregon, where Obama is favored . That’s two potentially wide victories for Clinton in two weeks.

Advertisement

It won’t help her numbers much. West Virginia and Kentucky have only 99 delegates combined (pledged and unpledged), while Oregon has 65, so she isn’t going to rack up many delegates. Likewise, she won’t significantly close Obama’s popular-vote lead.

But for Clinton, the nomination isn’t about numbers anymore. There’s no metric by which she can plausibly win , even if Florida and Michigan are counted. Now it’s about derailing Obama or waiting for him to derail himself. Clinton has come this far; why not ride out this rough patch—however many people call for her to drop out—and see what happens?

Worst-case scenario, she spends a few million more dollars and drops out in late May or early June. (Remember how long Huckabee stuck around, just to see what happened?) Better that than drop out tomorrow, only to have some damning revelation about Obama emerge over the next month. Clinton paints herself as a fighter, but her best shot at the nomination is now less about fighting than waiting.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.