Obama limps towards the finish line

Barack Obama appears to have won a decisive victory in North Carolina. Moreover, it looks like Hillary Clinton’s win in Indiana probably won’t match her recent big wins in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In ordinary circumstances, Obama wouldn’t have much to cheer about. Indeed, losing a state bordering on his home turf by any margin would be deemed a setback, particularly coming on the heels of several big defeats in key states.

But given the present state of play, tonight’s results will suit Obama just fine. Not only can he legitimately claim to have “stopped the bleeding,” but his lead among non-superdelegates seems insurmountable. Simply put, Clinton’s recent string of good results, as impressive as it is, seems to fall short of what is needed to convince superdelegates to reverse the overall result of the primaries and caucuses.

What happens next? I assume that Clinton will come under great pressure to drop out. My guess is that she will resist that pressure until even deeper into the primary season, and probably until the end of it. Her hope must be that Obama will encounter a new set of serious problems. The current set, though it revived her campaign, has not been enough to put it over the top.

UPDATE: Although Hillary gave a victory speech in Indiana, and Obama is said to have conceded (I didn’t see it), Fox News has not called the race. Moreover, Clinton’s lead is down to 20,000 votes with 90 percent counted. Most of the uncounted votes are from Lake County which leans towards Obama.

Even assuming that Clinton holds on to her lead, the victory will be very narrow. So we may see a substantial movement towards Obama among superdelegates. Should Obama actually overtake Clinton, it could become a stampede. Thus, Clinton’s days in the race may be numbered.

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