Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Post-Nouveau Super Tuesday Assessments

Well, yesterday's primaries threw yet another wrench in what is turning out to be a remarkable election. Hillary emerges as the big winner if you, like me, agree that McCain's victories were a foregone conclusion.

Nonetheless, Hillary still faces some harsh realities when it comes to the arithmetic of the primaries. The reality is that Obama's lead is not likely to fade easily if at all, and Hillary will almost certainly have to rely on this year's kingmakers (queenmakers?) the mysterious and powerful superdelegates.

Meanwhile the analysis comes fast and furious. At Slate Jeff Greenfield compares the Democratic candidates to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. At The New Republic Eric Rauchway tells Democrats to look to the 1912 election (while TNR's Plank has its usual blast-fax coverage). And of course there is going to be no paucity of Democrats Divided talk (dramatically overstated, I think) and parsing the race v. gender fracture (which I weighed in on last month.

What we actually know is this: The Democratic race will continue, Obama is in the lead, and all of these discussions will move forward as well. Yes, John McCain can now campaign against the Democrats, but all of the attention will still be on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And any advantage McCain might get in terms of the ability to knock down his opponents will long since be neutralized by the time the summer rolls around. besides, turnout in the primaries has consistently favored the Democrats. If whoever emerges as the frontrunner can rally that turnout, the interest in the primaries may well redound to the benefit of the Democratic nominee. In a sense, then, all yesterday did was allow for a maintenance of the status quo ante.

On to Pennsylvania.

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