Super Tuesday hardly marked the end of the trail, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting over delegates and Mike Huckabee making a surprise showing (VP Huckabee, anyone?) in the South.
No decision: Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama each emerged with Super Tuesday victories. Clinton won closely contested New Jersey and delegate-rich California. But Obama took 13 states to Clinton’s eight, a diverse set of victories ranging from Georgia to Connecticut. Bloggers predict the campaign won’t be over soon.
Obama-supporting conservative Andrew Sullivan sizes up the candidates’ advantages: “The bottom line is that this is now a dead heat. Given Clinton’s massive lead only a couple of weeks ago, that’s a huge Obama gain. Clinton has the edge among super-delegates (as of now). Obama has the edge in money—a real edge, and it’s building. It’s still all to play for.” At Real Clear Politics, Tom Bevan predicts it could come down to two states that were stripped of their delegates for staging early primaries: “If … neither Clinton nor Obama are able to reach the magic number of delegates, then we’re going to circle back for a really nasty fight over Michigan and Florida.”
On Slate’s XX Factor, Hanna Rosin reacts to Clinton’s success in Southern states: “Here’s what’s confusing me about last night’s results. I have been operating under the assumption that vast swaths of red America hate Hillary. But she won in Tennessee and Oklahoma. She won among less-educated white men. She cleaned up with women. That, combined with that Barna study … saying born-agains prefer Hillary to all other candidates. Is Hillary hatred no more?”
Hillary hatred is alive and kicking at evangelical World on the Web, where African-American blogger Anthony Bradley writes: “Hillary’s huge loss in Georgia, where the Democratic base is largely black, sends the Clintons a strong message: Many black Democrats don’t like you after all.” The Nation’s Ari Berman gives the overall win to Obama: “If this contest really hinges on that elusive prognostication of ‘electability,’ score Super Tuesday for Obama. He won in blue areas, red areas and purple areas. He competed in places where Democrats dare not normally roam, like Idaho, notched impressive victories in swing territories such as Colorado and Missouri, and exceeded even his own expectations in the South.”
Paul Mirengoff at conservative Power Line has the most fascinating scenario for the Democratic race: “This outcome strongly reinforces the conventional wisdom that ‘super-delegates’ will determine whether the Dems nominate Clinton or Obama. … But the empowerment of the super-delegates may also present the Democrats with an opportunity. To the extent that the super-delegates wish (or feel constrained) to confer the nomination on Clinton, they could perhaps extract a promise that she will put Obama on the ticket. If Obama accepts, the Dems would have a powerful ticket and, presumably, no alienated elements within their base.”
Read more reactions to the Democratic results from Super Tuesday.
Who’s the runner-up? The Republican race is a bit clearer now, with Sen. John McCain taking most of the victories and almost all of the delegates. But results show McCain still has problems with the most conservative voters—he won mostly without them—and Mike Huckabee, not Mitt Romney, won the socially conservative Southern states. Bloggers eulogize Romney and speculate about Huckabee’s chances at being the running mate.
Jed Babbin, at conservative Human Events, surveys the damage to Romney: “Now that McCain has momentum, Romney needs a probable path to the nomination to remain credible in the next round of primaries. His wins—in Utah and Massachusetts primaries, and Alaska and North Dakota caucuses—are too scattered and small to provide a realistic foundation for a nomination.” On the Washington Post’s Trail, Jonathan Weisman provides a damning footnote to the Romney strategy: “The former Massachusetts governor has spent $1.16 million per delegate, a rate that would cost him $1.33 billion to win the nomination.”
Conservative Romney supporter Hugh Hewitt urges his party to unite: “Romney and Huckabee ought to begin to note Senator McCain’s lead and urge their followers to recognize that if they cannot come back they and their followers will have to come in and join the party’s eventual nominee. … Putting Humpty Dumpty together again cannot wait for St. Paul.”
Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost explains that Huckabee was the real second man in the race: “Pundit-based reality: Huckabee is stealing votes from Romney. Voter-based reality: Huckabee is competing for votes with McCain.” Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal wonders aloud about McCain’s possible designs on Huck: “Speculation 1: McCain will choose Huckabee as his VP in order to shore up his demographic weaknesses for the general election. Speculation 2: He’ll throw Huckabee under the bus just as soon as he has this thing sewn up. Which is it?” Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review’sCorner entertains the idea of the former: “The upsides are obvious. They’re the first- and third- best vote-getters in the Republican field. Huckabee helps to make up for McCain’s weakness with evangelical Protestants and, to a lesser extent, his weakness on domestic policy. The most frequently mentioned downside—the further alienation of some of the same conservatives who have misgivings about McCain—may be overblown.”
But Michael Goldfarb, editor of the Weekly Standard’s Worldwide Standard, thinks McCain has bigger concerns than demographics: “Republicans will have to acknowledge that McCain’s health is not an inconsequential concern, and I don’t think McCain’s supporters, or McCain himself, would be terribly comfortable with the idea of Huckabee as commander in chief. So McCain can’t make a purely political calculation in choosing his V.P. (assuming Huckabee would be a net positive politically, which, again, is an open question).”
Read more reaction on the Republican results from Super Tuesday.