With Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision to stay in the Democratic race to the bitter end, she has signaled a delegate fight all the way to the party's convention in Denver this August.
Both candidates appear in something of a stalemate.
Political strategists have concluded that Clinton cannot overcome Sen. Barack Obama's pledged delegate lead by winning additional primaries.
And despite his lead in electoral and delegate wins, Obama cannot seal his nomination without the support of the party's superdelegates.
Clinton's decision, after winning in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island this week that she would not capitulate has opened up the first skirmishes in a looming Democratic civil war.
Already the intraparty battle - described by the Boston Globe as "trench warfare" - has cost the Democrats a whopping $275 million. The war has no end in sight and is shaping up to be a take-no-prisoners battle.
Consider:Cash: Both sides are now swimming with the ammunition that politicians need to wage war. Obama announced this week that he raised a stunning $55 million in February. Clinton hasn't matched those numbers, but she is playing catch-up. Since Tuesday, she raked in a cool $3 million.'Monster' Hillary: Obama foreign policy aide Samantha Power told Britain's Scotsman that Clinton is "a monster . . . she is stooping to anything" and described her circle as being on the "warpath."Ken Starr: Clinton's campaign lashed out at Obama Thursday, accusing him of becoming another "Ken Starr" because he promised to be more critical of his opponent. The Obama campaign has complained Clinton has dragged her feet in releasing her tax returns and her documents as first lady.Florida and Michigan. Both the Obama and Clinton camps are deadlocked on the matter of the Florida and Michigan delegates. Party Chairman Howard Dean says he wants a new vote in those states but he won't use party money to pay for it. That benefits Obama, because Clinton would have likely won those states in a re-vote. If Dean and the Obama can keep the current slate of Florida and Michigan delegates off the convention floor, Clinton's position is further undermined.Black Revolt: Influential African-Americans like Donna Brazile, Al Sharpton and former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder are warning that the Democratic Party may be fractured and crippled if it does not abide by the will of the pledged delegates in picking the nominee.
Meanwhile, the fraternal struggle among Democrats may be netting Republicans support.
Former Bush strategist Karl Rove notes Thursday in The Wall Street Journal "the interesting electoral phenomenon is the emergence of the 'McCainicrats' -- Democrats backing Mr. McCain."
Rove continued: "In three recent polls, (Fox, LA Times/Bloomberg and Gallup), almost twice as many Democrats support Mr. McCain as Republicans support Mr. Obama. Three times as many Democrats support Mr. McCain as Republicans back Mrs. Clinton."
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