First, the facts/assumptions:
- 6 primaries remain at which "pledged" delegates can be captured. They are listed here in the order they occur with the number of delegates in parenthesis: West Virginia (28), Kentucky (51), Oregon (52), Montana (16), South Dakota (15), Peurto Rico (55).
- The way the democrats divide up delegates per state is REALLY complicated. First there is a delegate for each congressional district and then the remaining delegates are divided up based on percentage of the total votes collected in the state. CNN, has chosen to simplify this by giving us sliders to allocate the percentage of delegates, rather then the vote count, to each candidate. They've made this sacrifice in accuracy for the sake of a simple model, I'm willing to as well.
- There is also a slider for superdelegates, of which 277 have not committed to a candidate. Clinton got a vast majority of the superdelegates early on, but Obama has nearly recovered. He now only trails her by 14 superdelegates (he leads in pledged delegates by 169).
- For the sake of the math we'll assume that niether candidate insights mass chaos. So all of the pledged delegates vote for who they are supposed to vote for and all of the already committed superdelegates vote for who they have said they will vote for.
Now the scenarios for a Clinton victory:
- Scenario 1: Clinton and Obama split the remaining superdelegates but Clinton wins enough states to get the nomination. In order for this to happen Clinton would need to win the remaining states by an unprecedented average of 86 to 14, that's a 72 point margin. For perspective, Obama is widely considered to have taken Clinton to the cleaners last night in North Carolina and only has a 14 point margin to show for it. So, I think we can agree this scenario is impossible. We can also deduce that we don't have to bother speculating what happens if Obama wins more superdelegates then Clinton, the math just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.
- Scenario 2: Clinton wins 75% of the remaining superdelegates then does well enough in the states to squeak out the nomination. Ok, so given that Clinton has won 75% of the superdelegates, unlikely but possible, what percentage of the pledged delegates (delegates won in the primaries) would she need? 64%. So even if she gets 75% of the superdelegates Obama needs only to be (on average) within 28 points of her in the remaining 6 races.
Conclusion: Hillary needs a miracle. I'm not sure if it comes out in the next couple days that Obama's semen is on his intern's dress that she can turn this around. When they say Hillary can only win "by any means necessary" with a menacing tone, they don't mean nasty campaign ads. They mean she has to lie, cheat and steal every vote to have a chance. She has to talk pledged delegates in to ignoring the rules of the Democratic party and the people in the districts they are "representing." She has to promise who knows what to the superdelegates to get them to switch to her column.