Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Barack Obama's decisive 15-percentage-point victory (56-41) in the North Carolina primary on Tuesday more than reversed the impact of Hillary Clinton's impressive 54-45 win in Pennsylvania two weeks earlier. Even Mrs. Clinton's narrow Tuesday victory in Indiana (50-49) did little to detract from the major advance that Mr. Obama made on Tuesday in his quest for the nomination. That said, a widening split between the coalitions of both Democratic candidates signaled a potentially insurmountable obstacle for Mr. Obama in November unless the party's two presidential factions resolve their differences.
Even more important is the fact that Mr. Obama's North Carolina victory will generate a larger net gain in pledged delegates than Mrs. Clinton's net gain of 12 pledged delegates in Pennsylvania. Moreover, the Democratic Party's system of proportional distribution of pledged delegates means that Mrs. Clinton's narrow win in Indiana will not generate a significant net gain in pledged delegates there.
With 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination, Mr. Obama now has 1,842, including 254 superdelegates, according to a tally by CNN. Needing only 183 more delegates to clinch the nomination, he has built a lead of 156 delegates over Mrs. Clinton, whose total is now 1,686, including 267 superdelegates. Between now and June 3, an additional 217 pledged delegates will be at stake in six remaining contests, which are expected to be split between the two candidates. …