Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Super Tuesday, Redux

For all intents and purposes today's voting in Texas and Ohio (and Rhode Island and Vermont) represents Super Tuesday redux. Barack Obama could put this contest away, or Hillary Clinton could mount a comeback that will all but guarantee a brokered convention. Even if that happens, however, I think it is far too simplistic to break the Democratic race down into the meme of a party divided. It does not strike me that the Democratic Party's fissures are anything remotely comparable to those that divide Republicans. The Democrats just happen to be lucky enough to have two strong candidates that appeal to elements of the party. But one can easily envision a scenario whereby Dems rally behind whichever of these historic candidates emerges as the winner even if a large swath of conservatives find themselves having to hold their nose and pull the proverbial lever for McCain (or else choose a third-party social conservative if one emerges).

For my money, the best political coverage can be found at The Washington Post. Nonetheless, I'd also check out The Plank, Andrew Sullivan, The New York Times -- you know, the usual suspects.

My gut instinct is to say that Obama will pull out Texas (and likely Vermont), Hillary will claim Ohio (and possibly Rhode Island), but just barely, and the debate about whether Clinton should withdraw, which is already a ubiquitous subtext, will accelerate. It will be this issue, not the putative differences between Clinton and Obama, that runs the risk of getting ugly. If Clinton withdraws gracefully, one can imagine her in a number of scenarios, none of which plausibly includes her sitting at Vice president. I could certainly see Clinton becoming a lion of the senate. But is it too farfetched to imagine Obama nominating her for a vacancy on the Supreme Court? What about Secretary of State? Of course if Hillary fights to the bitter end, she will almost certainly guarantee that she will play no role in a potential Obama administration.

I now have to cross the street from campus to head to Nimitz Junior High to cast my vote. This is a vote that I never imagined would be anything but a symbolic gesture, falling as it does in the primary fight.

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