Okay, Pennsylvania will probably not actually decide anything tonight (I'm going to tell you why in a minute), but it will at the very least end our long national nightmare of the primary abyss. After tonight, we have the Guam caucuses in a week-and-a-half, with North Carolina and Indiana two weeks away. We don't even have that big a gap between primaries until the May 20 (Kentucky/Oregon) to June 1 (Puerto Rico) interlude, and then, on June 3, it's all over. Mirable visu, we have at most six more weeks before, Deus volent, the outcome of the Democratic primaries will be reasonably clear.
Unfortunately, I doubt we're going to get clarity tonight. Conventional wisdom holds that an Obama victory in Pennsylvania is a golden goal, ending the primary decisively, in effect if not in reality. Conventional wisdom also holds that a double-digit Clinton victory will shatter Obama's claim to inevitability, and catapult Clinton, if not into the lead, then at least into a strong position to argue for the supers to block Obama. And so, inevitably, the polls seem to be shaking out into a modest Clinton win -- say, five or six percent -- that will leave the race pretty much as-is, with Obama still favored, but Clinton still clinging to viability.
If the race ends up a narrow Clinton win, both sides will end tomorrow pretty much as they ended today, with roughly the same chances of winning that they have now. But at the very least, for the first time in weeks, we'll be talking about what the candidates have actually done in an actual race -- not Jeremiah Wright or Bosnia or bowling scores or grainy recordings of poorly-phrased arguments to supporters, but actual election results. And that is something to celebrate, whether you're an Obamiac or a Clintonoid.