Hillary Clinton made some conciliatory comments in her victory speech in Kentucky Tuesday night, saying that “while we continue to go toe-to-toe for this nomination, we do see eye-to-eye when it comes to uniting our party to elect a Democratic president this fall.” But given that she has little to no hope of overtaking Barack Obama, who won Oregon yesterday, why is she still fighting full force? Much of the speculation about this has been negative, but here are some positive explanations:
The Washington Post reported that Clinton’s advisers say that “a major reason she does not want to be pressured out of the race is that she believes it will be easier to bring her supporters over to Obama once the primaries are over if they think she was able to finish the nomination battle on her own terms.” That makes sense, though it doesn’t explain the aggressiveness of her criticisms of Obama.
Columnist Richard Cohen wrote that Clinton “is acting as any leader would.” He added: “Take a tour of statues throughout the world, and, while you will find monuments to plenty of historical figures who lost battles, you will find none to â€˜A Gracious Loser.’” However, Cohen also noted that fighting to the end could have political benefits later. Clinton would be 65 in 2012 and still younger than John McCain is now in 2016, so she would be “positioned to run for president, not as someone’s wife, but as a gritty fighter who just would not quit.”
The New York Times reported that Clinton thinks sexism was a significant factor in the campaign, and she wants to show younger women that she won’t be pushed around. But it also reported that Clinton thinks she still has a chance to win, and the more primary wins and delegates she can get, the more leverage she’ll have to argue for seating delegates from Florida and Michigan.