Michael Wolraich's picture

    Mike Gravel should drop out after Tuesday

    I have no problem with Mike Gravel. He's run a fine race, and his innovative ad campaign will be studied by strategists for years to come. The one with the rock broke ground never before broken by any candidate and likely never to be broken again, unless he runs in 2012. The mental image of his determined stare still gives me goosebumps. I also appreciate his important contributions to the Democratic debates, though I don't really remember them. But if I remembered them, I'm sure that I would appreciate them. It's not my fault that I wasn't paying attention. Until the fourth debate, I thought that he was just somebody's crazy grandpa who sat in the wrong seat. I blame the media for not clearly explaining that he was not anyone's crazy grandpa.

    But look, even if he isn't anyone's crazy grandpa, it's time for him to leave the race. We need to move on and face the common enemy, that other guy who looks like someone's crazy grandpa. Gravel's relentless attacks and weird ads are distracting Obama and Clinton, who don't know how to respond. If they go negative on Gravel and the Republican guy at the same time, it will look like they hate old people, and that would be a tragedy for the party because those geezers sure know how to vote.

    I know that the Gravel-bots say that he can still win the nomination. It may be true that some of the 2% of voters who prefer "Other" are Gravel supporters. But I've added up the numbers. Obama has 1,378 delegates, Clinton has 1,269, and Gravel has 0, which is actually less than the margin of error. He would need to get almost all the 1400 remaining delegates to win this thing. While it's numerically possible, that would mean that he would have to win almost 100% of the remaining votes and uncommitted superdelegates in order to win. Just because it happened in Turkmenistan doesn't mean that it can happen here. Moreover, the momentum is not in his favor; Obama and Clinton continue to make headway among voters who prefer "other".

    There are those who think that he should stay in the race to try to broker the convention and maybe negotiate VP. But without any delegates, his negotiating position isn't very good. I think that he would have more influence by joining Gore in the role of neutral party elder. He would be able to fulfill this role even better than Gore because Gore just isn't elder-y enough yet, even though he has a beard. Gravel doesn't need facial hair to be a party elder. He has natural graveltas.

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