Then there’s over a month until the next contest, in Pennsylvania on April 22. That stretch of time could be key. It could be the moment for many of the uncommitted superdelegates to begin ratifying the choice of Democratic primary voters, and to start moving en masse to Obama.
Many of these superdelegates are elected officials. They tend to care about winning in November. The polls suggest Obama matches up better with John McCain. And the polls are merely echoing the judgment of almost every Democratic elected official from a competitive district or a swing state with whom I’ve spoken. They would virtually all prefer Obama at the top of the ticket.
All of this will move the superdelegates to Obama – perhaps as early as just after March 4, or perhaps not until April 22, or perhaps not even until the last match-up on June 7. But the superdelegates will want to avoid a situation in which they could be in the position of seeming to override the popular vote, or of resolving a bitter battle over whether and how to count votes from Florida and Michigan, at the convention.
And there are, as a final resort, two super-superdelegates (so to speak) who would have the clout to help Democrats achieve closure: Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. If they stepped forward at the right time, they would earn the gratitude of their party. And they might also enjoy contemplating a derivative effect of their good deed – the fall of the house of Clinton.