If we go to the numbers, we’ll be here all night, so let’s take a look at states won.
Clinton wins 8 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Obama wins 14 states: Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Democrats Abroad, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah,
One state still undecided: New Mexico
John McCain wins 9 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma
Mitt Romney wins 7 states: Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Utah
Mike Huckabee wins 5 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia
So who’s up, who’s down, who’s out?
Tonight was pretty much a flat-footed tie on the Democratic side. When all is said and done, it looks like Obama will eke out a very slim delegate win for the day, maybe 10 delegates total. Had he won Massachusetts, California, or New York, he probably would have scored a knockout punch, but he didn’t. So why is he up?
Simple. Super Tuesday was always better terrain for the Clinton campaign to fight on than the Obama campaign. Obama does well when he can go into a state or two and campaign hard. Clinton had the advantage in a de facto national primary. Going into the night, the Obama campaign was saying they hoped to not drop more than 150 delegates behind Clinton. As it is, Obama will gain delegates on Clinton, holding a lead in pledged delegates and creeping closer even with superdelegates factored in.
And things get better for Obama. Saturday brings three races that should favor Obama: the Louisiana primary and the Nebraska and Washington caucuses. Louisiana has a tremendous African-American population, and Obama has, as one might expect, been doing well with African-American voters. Meanwhile, Obama showed tonight that he generally outperforms expectations in caucus states. He could well sweep these three. Sunday brings the Maine caucuses. Next Tuesday is the “Potomac Primary,” with the DC caucuses and the Maryland and Virginia primaries; again, these areas favor Obama. Then February 19 brings us to the Hawai’i caucuses — Obama grew up in Hawai’i, you may recall — and the Wisconsin primary, which represents the first and last state between now and March where Clinton can make a stand to stop the bleeding.
It’s not over; not by a long shot. But by tying Clinton tonight, Obama is able to keep the momentum from shifting. And all the momentum is in his favor right now.
Really, McCain underperformed tonight, but he did so in a good way: the opposition to him was split between Romney and Huckabee, both competing to be the anti-McCain at this point. Between his overwhelming delegate win and the fact that Romney and Huckabee will likely still continue on (no matter what MSNBC is saying about “frank discussions), McCain has all but sewn up the GOP endorsement.
Clinton needed a clear win tonight to stop the free fall her campaign has been in since South Carolina. She didn’t get it. A tie is better than a loss — and had she lost California, this would have been a disaster for her. But she did lose Missouri, and got shellacked in the caucus states. And now the calendar is against her; it’s entirely possible that she might not win another race in February.
If that happens, her Alamo is March 4, when Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont hold their primaries. All of those are races Clinton could win — but they’re likely four races she’ll have to win in order to stay alive. You can’t count Hillary Clinton out until Barack Obama accepts the nomination, but realistically, she’s going to have to score some upsets this month in order to prevent an Obama coronation.
I’d say odds are better-than-even that we’re looking at a McCain-Obama race this fall. If so, Bloomberg will have absolutely no raison d’etre. Not that he did before, of course.
Alas, poor Mitt: I knew him, Hugh. While Romney hasn’t been totally eliminated, it’s hard to see where he makes his stand now. He’s out of states where he’s lived, and Huckabee is still alive, meaning the conservatives are still unable to unify to stop McCain. I’m as sad to see Mitt leave as anyone, but he’s over.
Huckabee is done for the same reason Romney’s done: neither one was able to knock the other out of the race. If Huckabee could get it down to a two-person race against McCain…he’d still probably lose. But as long as Mitt is still floating around, he’s done for. If Mitt drops out, Huckabee will regain a pulse, but my suspicion is that Mitt may be trying to reposition to run against President Obama in 2012, and for that matter, Huckabee may be, too.
Paul did come in second on Tuesday…in Montana. Otherwise, he was out of the running. He’s clearly not going to get the GOP endorsement, though he may find new life as the Libertarian party’s standard-bearer.
He’s still running. Swear.
The good news is that he consistently defeats Jesus Christ, primarily because Christ opted for an ill-advised write-in campaign.
Power rankings to come Wednesday when I wake up.