Well, the big day has now come and gone. Are we any closer to picking a candidate than we were 24 hours ago? Hit the jump to find out who we think are the real winners and losers of Super Tuesday.
There wasn’t a real winner for the Democrats, but if I had to give the edge to anybody, I was say it goes to Obama. Even if, when all is said and done tomorrow, Hillary ends up getting slightly more delegates, I still think Obama’s strong showing puts him on equal footing with Hillary in the upcoming primaries. A week ago, Hillary was leading by double digits in the majority of these Super Tuesday states, and in just a week, Obama was able to bridge that gap and end up winning the majority of the states. The states Obama won, he won by a larger margin than in the states Hillary won. Obviously he had the momentum going into the night, and he’ll clearly have the momentum going into future primaries. Now that this Super Clusterfuck is out of the way, he has the luxury of spending more time in each state, which doesn’t bode well for Hillary. The more people get to know him, the more they like him, and now Hillary won’t have the same advantage because Obama won’t be forced to skip states like he had to for Super Tuesday. Add to this the fact that he has far more money than Hillary and will most likely continue to beat her in fundraising, and the future looks bright for Obama indeed. One could argue that Mitt Romney demonstrates that money isn’t everything, but when your wallet allows you to reserve the Target Center instead of Augsburg College, the difference is clear.
Still, Hillary isn’t out of this. Some people speculated that Obama’s momentum going into the night could potentially knock Hillary over. By “winning” the majority of the most populous Super Tuesday states, she has proven once again the endurance she possess. The real question now is whether this endurance can last long enough to get her through the remaining states.
However, perhaps the biggest advantage Obama gained was on the GOP side of the primaries. With John McCain emerging as the Republican front-runner, Hillary looks less likely than ever to be able to win the White House in the general election. In a McCain-Hillary match-up Hillary will lose. The Republicans are extremely divided over John McCain right now, which is clear from tonight’s results. The only reason he is the front-runner is because other candidates keep splitting the conservative vote! If the Democratic party wants to take advantage of this fragmentation, they won’t nominate the one person who could unite the Republican party again: Hillary Clinton. Republicans’ universal hatred for the Clinton family is perhaps the only thing that could get them to put their differences aside. Add that to the fact that McCain is significantly more popular among independent voters than Hillary, and it’s hard to believe that the Democrats would be stupid enough to match Hillary up against McCain.
What this means is that Obama might see a surge in superdelegate support. McCain being crowned the Republican front-runner might be the incentive these 500 remaining superdelegates need to finally pick a candidate. They aren’t stupid. They’ll realize that Obama is their only chance of beating McCain. When this happens, perhaps superdelegates will decide this race, because Obama and Hillary are too even in state polls to have pledged delegates decide it.
While John McCain may have won the most Republican delegates tonight, the real winner of the night is Mike Huckabee. He surprised everybody by proving his viability in the south. In fact, if it wasn’t for Mitt Romney, Huckabee might be giving McCain a serious run for his money. As it stands though, Huckabee has proven himself as serious vice president candidate who could reconcile with the conservatives alienated by John McCain. In a single night, Huckabee went from all but out of the race, to perhaps the most popular choice for vice president. Not bad for a man who, not even two months ago, wasn’t even considered a second tier candidate. Mike Huckabee’s rise is quickly becoming the story of the year.
If there is one loser tonight, it’s Mitt Romney. He has the money to keep running, but while Mike Huckabee is still in the race, all he’ll accomplish is further cementing John McCain’s front-runner status. It pleases me to finally say that Mitt Romney’s campaign looks like it is on its final legs.
The ultimate take away for the night is that the race is far from over. The Democratic race is closer than ever, and the next couple weeks will be some of the most intense campaigning we’ve seen yet. As long as both Romney and Huckabee stay in the race, McCain will probably continue on his path to the nomination, but a sudden withdrawal from either of those candidates would make the race very interesting, very fast.