Tonight was the Clinton campaign’s last best chance to make a significant dent in our lead in pledged delegates and they have failed. In our latest projections, we will win the Texas caucus with a double-digit margin and any pledged delegate shift will be absolutely minimal. In fact, Clinton’s chances of regaining the delegate lead actually decreased tonight, as the number of delegates remaining dwindles.Sorry, but this close counting of the delegates seems obtuse. The idea of Obama as a magic man — and his candidacy as a movement — is gone. We enter a new phase, and opinion is softened. People will think about things in new ways. The Rezko trial is in the news, and reporters are starting to ask Obama tough questions. We have a long wait for the next primary, and it's a big one that Hillary is expected to win by a wide margin. If we end the primary season with Clinton strong and Obama battered, the superdelegates will respond, and they will make the final call. I'd say Clinton has hugely increased her chance of winning.
Josh Marshall's analysis:
Let's hypothesize for a moment a scenario in which March 4th broke the back of Obama's campaign. He emerges bloodied and doesn't seem to be able to stand up to Hillary's assault. His delegate margin is big enough that she can't catch up. But she runs through the next dozen or however many remaining contests there are making up steady ground on the pledged delegate front. I don't think a small margin of pledged delegates will be enough if Obama looks like a damaged candidate who seems unable to fight off a determined and ruthless opponent. Just hanging on to the margin he banked in February won't be enough because fundamentally, if neither candidate has it locked by the convention, the super delegates will want to pick the candidate who looks like the general election winner and is the favorite of Democrats at the time of the convention, two qualifiers which are in practice two sides of the same coin.
I don't think the above is a likely scenario. In fact, I think it's quite unlikely. Almost everything remains stacked against Hillary. There's no denying that. But I think this does point to what this debate -- literal and meta -- will turn on over the next couple weeks.