Hillary Clinton has recently taken to comparing herself to Rocky Balboa in her fight to win the Democratic nomination. This analogy is apt, considering that in the film Rocky, the Italian Stallion admits that he can't beat Apollo Creed. But even as his friends beg him to quit, Rocky remains determined to prove that he can go the distance.
Certainly there are those that fear that the long, long battle for the Democratic bid will damage the eventual nominee, Barack Obama, so badly that he will not be able to defeat John McCain.
I remain convinced that the protracted battle actually helps more than it hurts. With the two candidates carrying the Democratic message to every state and territory, there is strong evidence that they are continuing to pull in more and more new Democratic voters, further increasing the gap between registered Democrats and Republicans.
On to the Prediction: When will Hillary finally quit?
The Democratic Convention begins on August 25, but the last nominating contests will occur on June 3. Here's how the numbers will stack up on the morning of June 4th, based on the prediction that the two candidates will exactly split the delegates from the remaining primaries, and that there will not be new votes in Florida and Michigan.
Total Obama: 1914
Total Clinton: 1783
Total needed to win: 2024
As of today, 332 of the 793 superdelegates have yet to make up their minds, at least publicly. Many will commit to one of the two candidates in the next few weeks. Any who are still uncommitted come June 4th will be under overwhelming pressure to endorse a candidate so this thing can finally end.
This race will be over in two months, and it will end in one of two ways.
1. Clinton is counting on a huge win in Pennsylvania on April 22 to build momentum. However, in the last couple of weeks, her lead in the polls there has dropped from about 20 points to single digits. There's some chance she'll be forced out if Pennsylvania is anything but a big win, or she could be forced to quit a week later if she loses badly enough in North Carolina and Indiana.
2. At some point in the next few weeks, and no later than early June, we will see most or all of the remaining superdelegates commit to one of the candidates. Obama needs one-third of them to seal the deal.
To summarize, Hillary in order to win has to pull off some combination of the following: (1.) convince most of the remaining superdelegates to support her, (2.) figure out a way to get the Party to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan in a way favorable to her, or (3.) engage in a scorched-earth policy of going all the way to the Convention and challenging the credentials of Obama's delegates. I'm confident that when Obama reaches the magic number of 2024 committed delegates, she'll bow out gracefully. To do otherwise would be to sacrifice any political future.