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In Play

By ThinkProgress

"In Play"

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Harold Ickes says of states Obama’s won:

“Most of those states haven’t voted Democratic in a presidential since the Johnson landslide over Goldwater in 1964, and we don’t see that changing,” said Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton. “They’re great states, but Idaho, Nebraska and the Carolinas are not going to be in the Democratic column in November. He’s winning the Democratic process, but that is virtually irrelevant to the general election.”

The converse of this, however, is that Clinton’s delegate count is heavily dependent on states like California, New York, and Massachusetts that aren’t in play either. Meanwhile, though they’ve traditionally gone Republican in presidential elections, I don’t think it’s beyond imagining that Barack Obama could put some of these north plains states — the Dakotas, Montana, maybe even Kansas or Nebraska — into play. There are plenty of Democratic senators from this part of the country many of whom are pretty orthodox liberals. Similarly, border states like Virginia and Missouri that Obama’s carried in the primaries aren’t out of reach in the general election any more than Colorado is and there’s at least some reason to think Clinton would put some marginal blue states (Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota) in play for McCain.

Now what’s true is that Ohio was the decisive state in 2004 and Clinton would probably be the stronger candidate for Ohio. There’s not, however, much more to the Clinton argument than that. The whole thing about Clinton winning the states that matter or the “big states” just amounts to Ohio. Which is fine as far as it goes, and certainly leads me to believe that if Clinton does wrest the nomination away from Obama she’ll probably win on a Clinton-Strickland ticket. I just think Obama would probably win too (especially if Clinton can somehow be persuaded to drop out after Pennsylvania thus letting Obama turn his cash and rhetoric against McCain), except with a larger number of states and more Democratic Senators.

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