Huckmentum!

pyle.jpgAs we always do, we go first to the numbers:

Democrats

U.S. Virgin Islands*
☑Obama ~90%
Clinton ~10%

Nebraska
☑Obama 68%
Clinton 32%

Washington State
☑Obama 68%
Clinton 31%

Louisiana
☑Obama 57%
Clinton 36%

*Based on Associated Press report, no firm numbers available

Republicans

Kansas
☑Huckabee 60%
McCain 24%
Paul 11%

Washington State
McCain 26%
Huckabee 24%
Paul 21%
Other 29%

Louisiana
☑Huckabee 43%
McCain 42%
Paul 5%
Other 10%

Counting halted until morning

So who’s up, who’s down, who’s out?

Who’s Up

Mike Huckabee

God bless Mike Huckabee. He’s a goofball, his man-love for Chuck Norris is starting to get a little too much, and he’s got a 0.2% chance of winning the election. But he’s continuing on, and because he’s continuing on, he’s got the opportunity to really hurt John McCain. And make no mistake — that’s what he did tonight. Huckabee walloped McCain in Kansas, scored a narrow win in Louisiana, and while Washington probably won’t be called until the morning, he will at the very worst finish a very narrow second in that state.

John McCain is the presumptive nominee. That he’s going to go 1-2, or Heaven forfend, 0-3 is an unmitigated disaster. Huckabee won’t win the nomination, but he’s got a chance to make a bit of a name for himself in defeat, and set up another run for 2012.

Barack Obama

Yes, Obama was supposed to win today; that doesn’t mean the wins don’t count. Maine will be tougher tomorrow — it’s one of Clinton’s best chances of a pre-March 4 win — but the margins of victory today can’t be argued with.

There’s a bit of a trend growing here. For the most part, Obama’s losses have been narrow. He lost Arkansas by 48 percent, Oklahoma by 24 percent, New York by 17 percent, Massachusetts by 15 percent, and Tennessee by 13 percent. Every other state he’s lost has been within 10 percent; when you consider that Arkansas and New York are Clinton’s home states, that’s not that bad.

Now look at the list of Obama blowout wins: Louisiana, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Utah, and South Carolina are all states Obama won by more than 10 percent. And those are just the primary states; factor in caucus states, and Obama’s also won by more than 10 percent in Nebraska, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, and North Dakota. In short, Obama is winning his states by bigger margins than Clinton is winning her states, and when you’re talking about proportionally-assigned delegates, that’s huge.

Who’s Down

John McCain

McCain will still win the GOP endorsement. But there’s no spinning the fact that today was a really, really bad day for the McCain campaign. It’s quite clear that a huge portion of the Republican party is unwilling to unite behind the legally-required-to-be-referred-to-as-a-maverick Arizona senator. Will they vote for either Clinton or Obama over him? Of course not. But this level of soft support has to be extremely worrisome to the McCain campaign, especially when one considers that primary voters and caucus-goers are the footsoldiers of a campaign. The Democrats have a tough primary fight, but if tomorrow Barack Obama dropped out of the race, 90 percent or more of the Democrats would rally around Hillary Clinton. That this has not happened in the Republican party is strong evidence that McCain is in big trouble this fall, no matter what polls suggest today.

Hillary Clinton

The Clinton campaign has done a very good job of managing expectations between now and March 4, basically arguing that Obama won only because he tried to win the states he won. But here’s the problem with that — in a race that could come down to less than a hundred delegates, every delegate is worth competing for. The Clinton campaign can’t actually afford to cede Louisiana and Washington and Nebraska to Obama, because the difference between losing 70-30 and 60-40 is significant. More than that, campaigns that are in good shape don’t concede states, not to the level the Clinton campaign is. They’ve raised a lot of money, but it’s clear right now Obama has the edge in money and organization.

The Clinton campaign’s comeback is that they’re doubling down on Texas and Ohio, banking on a sweep in those two states to overcome a string of Obama wins. They’ll say that they could still pick off Wisconsin (they could) or Maine (they also could). All this is true. But if Clinton doesn’t win in Wisconsin or Maine, she’ll be rolling into March 4 with no wins since Super Tuesday, absolutely needing a win in both states to keep her campaign viable. Maybe she’ll win both after all, and if so, then all this will be a memory. But this is a long, scary few weeks for the Clinton campaign, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Who’s Out

Mike Gravel

Near as I can tell, he didn’t receive any votes on Saturday. That’s not very good when you’re trying to win elections.

Alan Keyes

Unfortunately, lost to Mike Gravel.

Ron Paul

Now that Paul has declared he won’t run as a third-party candidate, I’m struggling to find a reason for him to stay in the race. And frankly, I haven’t come up with one.

Power Rankings will follow the Potomac Primaries


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