Predictions: When do Hillary and Huck drop out?

Anyone see any scenario at this point aside from an increasingly unlikely Obama sweep that knocks our gal out of the race? Ohio looks like it’s in the bag; if Ohio’s in the bag then theoretically Pennsylvania’s in the bag and we get six more weeks of glorious Democratic winter. A split hurts because him winning Texas will blunt her “only I can win the big states” argument but I don’t see why TNR thinks losing it would knock her out when the Rezko thing is starting to take off now, the NAFTA doublespeak is getting traction in the press, and she’s got that ABC poll about people wanting her to stay in to wave around. She’s banking on a “game-changing event,” and if anyone has the capacity to make that event happen, it’s the Macbeths. Onward to Philadelphia!

If she does pull the upset in Texas, though, watch out tonight for Clinton math. Winning the popular vote doesn’t necessarily guarantee more delegates; on the contrary, it sounds from this like the Messiah could drop both states and still end up with a net pick-up, assuming the margin in Ohio is close. Would that change her mind about staying in? Nah.

Texas apportions delegates via a complicated system that gives Obama’s voters more say than Clinton’s. About two-thirds of the state’s 193 delegates are awarded state Senate district by state Senate district. The delegates in each of those 31 districts are divvied up according to the popular vote within the district. However, those districts that reliably vote Democratic have more delegates. African-American areas in the big cities, and the liberal enclave of Austin, both likely to be Obama strongholds, have the most delegates. Latino areas along the border, which will probably favor Clinton, have somewhat fewer. The votes of those rural whites who support Clinton will have the least weight because they live in red districts. Unlike states such as Ohio, Texas does not give a lump-sum prize to the winner of the statewide popular vote.

After the polls close, at 7 p.m. CST in most of the state, 7 p.m. MST in El Paso, the day’s second act begins. And it too seems to favor Obama, who is more popular than Clinton with the party’s activist base. Sixty-seven of the state’s delegates are apportioned via caucuses that take place in polling places after the primary voting is done.

As for Huck, he’s whined enough the past two weeks about not giving up until McCain clinches mathematically so unless he’s changed his mind about that senate run, the deadline for which is March 10, it’s strictly a numbers game. The Journal says Maverick needs 177 of the 265 delegates up for grabs today to clinch; the CNN delegate totals suggest he needs only 144, which should be do-able — unless you discount the 70 unpledged delegates he’s earned, as Huckabee’s apt to do, in which he case he needs 214, which ain’t happening. Mississippi’s up next Tuesday, where Huck should do well, and after the Vicki Iseman story and Maverick’s public finance troubles, he can pray semi-realistically for a game-changing event too. If he can stay alive through next week than he’s probably alive until Pennsylvania, where McCain will finally put him out of his jolly misery.

Long story short: Another month of easy content for Hot Air. Sweet.

Update: Tough talk from Mark Penn. If she gets swept, she’s done, I say.