The Detroit Free Press is reporting this morning that the Obama campaign has rejected the idea of a do-over Michigan primary. It is not hard to figure out why. He would lose. Michigan and Ohio may be the bitterest of rivals when their state universities meet on the football field, but politically, they are the same state. Their demographics (U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts, 2006) are almost identical:
Michigan 50.8, Ohio 51.2
Michigan 14.3, Ohio 12.0
Michigan 3.9, Ohio 2.3
Michigan 12.5, Ohio 13.3
Michigan and Ohio both have a white population over 80% and a black population barely over 10%. This is the demographic that sunk Obama in Ohio. It would do the same in Michigan.
The Obama strategy is going to be: Try to expand his lead in delegates and in the popular vote in the remaining primaries (he’ll lose Pennsylvania), take it to the convention, claim to be the legitimate “winner” of the campaign process, and lobby the superdelegates. It’s going to be ugly. I think that the likely outcome is a Clinton-Obama ticket. If it comes to that, he has to accept the number two spot.
1. If he doesn’t take it, and Clinton wins, someone else is ahead of him in line for the 2016 nomination.
2. If he doesn’t take it, and Clinton loses, he’ll get the blame, and many Democrats will carry a grudge against Obama into 2012.
3. If he does take it, and Clinton loses, he will be the heir-apparent in 2012.
4. If he does take it, and Clinton wins, he is the vice-president. Not a great job, but a lot of vice-presidents have become president.
This is essentially what John Connally told Lyndon Johnson when the Kennedys offered LBJ the vice-presidency in 1960, with this twist: If LBJ turned it down and Kennedy won, he would be out as majority leader.