The conventional wisdom seems to be going into Super Tuesday (this is being written about an hour before the first polls close) that by the evening of February 6 the Republicans will have a prohibitive frontrunner and the Democrats will not.
Here’s betting such wisdom is, well, not.
It’s not just the polls are heading Obama’s way. It’s that the polls are, by today’s standards, old. They were taken days ago. In many cases, when Edwards was still in the race. When Maria Shriver was an uncommitted Kennedy. When Bill Clinton was under wraps. “The ground is on fire,” was the way that one Obama supporter put it. The ground is on fire. Obama will win and win big, it says here. I think there is a reasonable chance he will carry 15-20 states tonight. Clinton will carry New York , Tennessee , Delaware and Arizona. Maybe.
Don’t tell me about New Hampshire . The polls were wrong, went the CW. The crowds at the Obama rallies didn’t turn out to actually vote, it continued. Hillary found her voice after all. (Omen alert: she lost it today.)
New Hampshire was a small, contrary, white state where Obama made a number of tactical blunders (and still, by the way, got the votes the polls predicted; Hillary’s win came at Edwards’s expense, it seems now).
He predicted victory. He played it safe, eschewing the morning talk shows and leaving the last-minute deciders to what was perceived as a wounded Hillary Clinton. She won. He went to school.
What about Nevada? Didn’t she get the majority of votes there? The fact is, that we don’t really know. It was a caucus, after all, so very often the votes that were attributed to Clinton and Obama started out as votes for Edwards, or others. Others left before they even made a second choice. Do you really think Edwards got only 4 per cent of the votes there? What we do know is that Obama edged Clinton out in the Nevada delegate count. And went on to lap her in South Carolina . That felt like today. Florida? Don’t even.
No. What we have here is a genuine phenomenon. Oh, there will still be lots of votes left to count after tomorrow; lots of delegates to choose. But the die is cast. Barack Obama will be the nominee.
A word about the Republicans. Probably McCain is the nominee, as expected. But don’t count out my man Huckabee (he is “my man” in the sense that I long ago thought he would emerge from the pack to win Iowa —which he did and magically disappeared from the planet.)
Conventional wisdom: Huckabee he wants to be Vice-President and thinks that sticking around is his best way to achieve that goal. Froggermarch wisdom: He wants to be President and thinks that a brokered convention where he commands more than a couple of delegates and is everyone’s second choice is his best chance. Or McCain gets very sick after Romney drops out. Yeah, that. You read it here first.