I was part of a fascinating conversation last night with a group of engaged and informed Democrats all raking over the details of what happened Tuesday. The consensus of the group was that the primary is basically over now, but the conversation took an interesting turn (I described this in a comment earlier this morning, but then thought it was post-worthy). What fascinated me, and what I would love to hear others' thoughts on was the following observation:
Someone in the group suggested that it would make no sense at all for the Democratic Party to have Hillary drop out of the race now. If she did, there is a fair likelihood that she would still beat Barack in West VA, and also a good chance she would win in Kentucky. The idea being suggested was that it is against the interests of both the party and Obama's candidacy to have Hillary drop out just in time for Barack to lose two of the first three uncontested races. Instead it would look much better for her to stick around and play nice for a couple weeks.
What I found intriguing about this idea is that I think many people are eager to see this whole thing end, to see Hillary change her mind, hold a press conference, and close up shop today. It's been interesting for me to ponder whether she would serve her party better to stick around at least for another week or two. Still, this all ignores the question of whether altruistic thinking like this is at play at all in the Clinton Campaign's considerations this week.
On an interesting side note, check out this post on Talking Points Memo regarding repaying the Clintons for their "loans" to Hillary's campaign (hat tip to Amiercablog where I saw this discussed). I had not heard about this piece of the picture until today, but as one of the 1.5 million small donors to the Obama campaign, I can say with certainty that I never intended my donations to go for paying the Clintons back on the loans that kept Hillary running in spite of inadequate fund raising totals this spring. I find the notion this could possibly happen quite troubling.
Update: Check out a completely dweeby but fascinating discussion of super delegates and primary election math over at SUPERDELEGATELAND.