For most of last year, Hillary Clinton was the clear favorite to be the Democratic nominee -- and very possibly to fulfill what she believed to be her destiny as the first woman to be elected president.
So as Barack Obama moves closer and closer to taking the nomination away, there's a version of the seven stages of grief and loss in the apparent death of Clinton's dream.
1. Shock. The Clinton camp was stunned by her third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in January, and in some ways has never quite recovered.
2. Denial. Publicly at least, Clinton is still in this stage, insisting to supporters that the race isn't over despite the all but insurmountable delegate math.
3. Bargaining. Clinton and her top aides have been cajoling superdelegates for weeks, trying to convince them that she would be the stronger nominee against Republican John McCain. Her campaign is also negotiating with the party officials to find a way to count the votes and delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries, without which she cannot win. And she just pressed that case with Florida voters today.
4. Guilt. Not for Clinton, herself, necessarily. But there have been recriminations and a series of well-documented changes within the campaign headquarters. Some loyalists say her staff has not run the campaign she deserved.
5. Anger. It has surfaced most clearly in complaints about media coverage -- what she sees as the coddling of Obama, and what she described this week as sexist, at times even misogynist, treatment.
6. Depression. She and her top advisers remain publicly upbeat, and there's no outward sign so far of this phase, other than fatigue on the campaign trail.
7. Acceptance. This probably won't come until after the last contests on June 3, when Obama could very well mathematically clinch the nomination. But she has publicly pledged to fully support the eventual nominee to make sure Democrats win the White House.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.