I interviewed Chuck Schumer for a story in this week’s paper about the state of the Clinton campaign, and he told me a couple of things that may turn out to be important as her aides reportedly weigh some potentially “incendiary” end-game strategies.
When I asked if he would definitely stay committed to Clinton, Schumer said, “Definitely. She won my state. I know how good she is. I was the first Senator to support her.”
But he also said he doubted that one candidate would stay on long after it became clear he or she could not win the nomination.
“The number one thing that people worry about is that the candidates will cut each other up and make it harder to win the general,” he said. “But I think that is not going to happen. Because everyone cares about winning so much. Not only the candidates, but the electorate. So if one candidate is doing something that is regarded as really self-destructive, of the ability to win, that’s really going to hurt them.”
“It would widely be regarded negatively in the electorate,” he said.
Obviously, this isn’t to suggest, as the Obama campaign has, that there’s no legitimate way for Hillary Clinton to come back from her recent string of defeats. And the definition of “something that is regarded as really self-destructive” will vary widely, depending on who’s plotting the self-destructive act in question. But it’s worth keeping in mind if and when the Clinton campaign is faced with the choice of whether or not to try to win this thing based on superdelegates or the results of noncompetitive primaries in Florida and Michigan.
Schumer also suggested that the current system of awarding pledged delegates is flawed. “The delegate counts are so close, and you can win a state by quite a lot and you still don’t win the delegates by quite a lot,” he said. “Maybe that’s a flawed system. But that will be for the next election, not this one.
“I think if you win a district 55 to 45,” he said. “The delegates shouldn’t be three to three. Yes, I think proportional representation makes some sense but they sort of overdid it.”