She may have given up, but a few of Hillary Rodham Clinton ’s people haven’t.
The senator from New York is said to be negotiating a respectful presence followed by a graceful exit from next month’s Democratic convention, and last week the party announced that Barack Obama would formally accept the party’s nomination in the stadium built for the Denver Broncos. But there are Clinton supporters clinging to the hope that if her name is placed in nomination and the roll call of the states is conducted, she might — might — still win.
Heidi Li Feldman, a Georgetown University law professor, insists there’s still “no way of predicting” the outcome should there be a fair vote. That’s because Obama has not secured enough pledged delegates to ensure the magic number of 2,118 needed to claim victory; the Illinois senator has gone past that benchmark only with the pledges of about 390 superdelegates — and they can change their minds at any time up to the moment they cast their ballots.
“If they had a meaningful vote, I have no idea who would win,” Feldman says. “But I know that if Sen. Obama were sure he would win, there wouldn’t be a negotiation” about Clinton’s role at the convention.
So Feldman, who says she has raised about $100,000 for Clinton, has turned her prowess to raising money for advertising demanding a convention vote, and she has teamed with a fellow pro-Clinton blogger, Marc Rubin, to form the Denver Group to lobby the Democratic National Committee, much of the staff of which has already moved from Washington to Chicago to work for Obama.
Feldman says she won’t vote for Obama if Clinton doesn’t get a convention vote. Rubin says he might not. Both say they aren’t worried that their efforts will continue to divide Democrats at a time when they should be uniting to take on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. In fact, they argue, many Democrats might stay home if they feel Clinton gets short shrift.
“What they have to do is make it possible for people to say to themselves that there was a fair and correct process,” Feldman says.