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Commentary: No graceful bow-out for Clinton

  • Story Highlights
  • Roland Martin says the Democratic race will go down to the wire
  • Hillary Clinton "will go to the mat" to keep Obama from winning, he says
  • Clinton has changed her outlook on Florida and Michigan, he writes
  • Martin predicts "bloodbath" when Democratic rules committee meets
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By Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor
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Roland Martin says Sen. Hillary Clinton will fight hard to keep her rival from reaching 2,026 delegates.

Remember all those wrestling "death matches," during which they talked about guys tearing their opponents' heads off in the ring? We all knew wrestling was fake, but the promotion was awesome, because it always sucked us in.

Lest anyone think the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination is going to end peacefully in June, forget about it.

Sen. Hillary Clinton will do anything and everything to win, and the idea that Sen. Barack Obama should give in to her demands to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates is ludicrous. When you're ahead, you don't concede any ground. If the roles were reversed, she would do the same.

This race, regardless of what anyone says, is still airtight. Obama has the lead among superdelegates and has garnered a majority of pledged delegates, but they always can change their allegiance, per Democratic Party rules, and don't think for a second that the Clinton camp doesn't understand that.

Her comments to The Associated Press that she may take this to the convention in August shouldn't be dismissed. I don't think Clinton cares about the party. Last week, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux said a Clinton source told her that their focus is Clinton first and the party second.

The only way Obama can truly focus on the next step is if he does everything to get to 2,026 delegates. If he gets there first, he wins. But Clinton will go to the mat to prevent that from happening.

Everyone talks about her running in 2012 if Obama wins the Democratic nomination but loses the general election, or 2016 if he wins two terms. But nothing is guaranteed. She's 60 years old. This is her best shot at winning, and she'll leave it all on the table to try to get the nomination.

In the past few days, her surrogates, and even Clinton herself, have ramped up the talk about sexism. There is little doubt that she is trying to stir the ire of her female base and push them to demand that she either be the nominee or be given the vice president slot. But it's really about the former rather than the latter.

In Florida on Wednesday, she invoked slavery and the epic civil rights battle against Jim Crow in her quest to count the vote in Florida as-is.

Forget the fact that she once said the states wouldn't matter because they broke the rules.

Forget the fact that many of her supporters on the Democratic National Committee's rules committee supported the stripping of delegates in Michigan and Florida.

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And forget the fact that her chief supporter in Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, signed the bill into law that allowed the state to move up its primary.

Clinton and her supporters now discount all of that and act as if they were always champions of the "disenfranchised" voters in Florida and Michigan. But they weren't. And the record is clear. Only when it became apparent that she needed the states' delegates to close the gap with Obama did she change her tune. She said one thing in Iowa and New Hampshire and now is saying something else.

The Clintonites don't want any compromises in Michigan and Florida. They want the results to stay the same, even though Obama's name wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and all candidates signed an agreement not to campaign in those two states.

But The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets say the Clinton camp doesn't care. Her biggest backer, former President Clinton, is telling her to stay in it until the end, hoping to persuade superdelegates to switch and give her the nomination.

The DNC rules committee will meet May 31. Expect a bloodbath. Trust me; there will be nothing nice about that meeting.

The Obama camp better not let its guard down. The Clinton camp is gearing up for a protracted battle. Folks, this is for all the marbles, and feelings -- and party -- be damned.

Only one thing is certain: If this battle goes to Denver, the Democrats might as well dump those inauguration tickets on eBay, because supporters of Sen. John McCain will need them.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian communications at Louisiana Baptist University. You can read more of his columns at

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

All About Barack ObamaHillary ClintonU.S. Presidential Election

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