By February of 2008, when Hillary Clinton had finally found her footing in the Democratic primary and was running virtually neck-and-neck with Barack Obama, the Obama campaign was saying it was too late, citing the delegate math. David Plouffe asserted that Clinton “simply [doesn’t] have any avenue to the nomination.”
The Sanders campaign already finds itself in a similar situation. The Times reports this morning that Clinton’s lead in the delegate count is daunting enough that she could effectively end the race by performing well in delegate-rich contests on Super Tuesday, as she is expected to do. And Plouffe is back to make the case:
David Plouffe, the architect of Mr. Obama’s delegate strategy in 2008 and Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, said Mr. Sanders would need “surprising landslides in surprising places” if Mrs. Clinton did well on Super Tuesday. If Mrs. Clinton builds a small but stable lead, Mr. Sanders would need to overwhelm her in major primaries later in the spring.
“It is likely Sanders would have to win by double digits, if not by 20 points, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California to begin to crawl out of what seems like a small but, in fact, is a deep and persistent hole” in the delegate count, said Mr. Plouffe, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton.
Of course, Clinton’s early delegate lead has been padded by support from super-delegates. Which makes you wonder if Sanders really ever had a shot to begin with.