Mark Halperin details what we have all known for a long time, but for some reason or another, no one is saying:
1. She can’t win the nomination without overturning the will of the elected delegates, which will alienate many Democrats.
2. She can’t win the nomination without a bloody convention battle — after which, even if she won, history and many Democrats would cast her as a villain.
3. Catching up in the popular vote is not out of the question — but without re-votes in Florida and Michigan it will be almost as impossible as catching up in elected delegates.
Now, however, Richardson is saying it:
My great affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver.
It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the Fall.
The 1990’s were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward.
Stop ripping the party apart, Hillary. It is time for Mark Penn to stop penning the McCain commercials.
Even the media is signaling that they are unwilling to continue to play along with this fantasy:
One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.
Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.
Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.
People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.
As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.
In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.
This really is over, as far as the election is concerned. The only remaining questions are how many last gasps the Clinton campaign has left, and how much damage they will do to the Democratic party as a whole over the next few months.