Like a lot of folks, I was up late last night watching the returns. Like a lot of folks, I am reading the tea leaves this morning and wondering how the Democrats are going to choose a candidate. Even if you want them to be a ticket, who is the top and who is the bottom? Heres some pluses and minuses:
+ Wins fewer but huge big states - strong on coasts (won 8 contests last night)
+ Raises big money with big donors
+ Well-known commodity, can "take a punch" from Republican attackers
+ March 4 primaries play to her strengths
- High disapproval ratings in public opinion polls
- Seen a too liberal among independents
- Hasn't won in the bread basket
? Would be first female President
? More policy wonk than natural leader
+ Wins many smaller states and large home state-- strong in mid-section and has won races in all four corners (won 14 contests last night)
+ Raises big money from smaller donors
+ Charismatic, bringing in new voters
+ Independents like him despite his voting record
+ Next two weeks of primaries and caucuses play to his strengths
- Hasn't proven he can win the big blue states
- Less battle tested against Republican attack machine
- Kennedy family endorsements don't pan out
? Would be first African American President
? More natural leader than policy expert
There does not seem to be a sense of inevitability about either candidate given the mixed bag that last night produced and the national convention in Denver could lead to death by a thousand cuts if the candidates aren't able to make peace. However, as winning the White House is about which party has the power, I believe that personal feelings will give way to what is best for the party-- though it might make for some uncomfortable photo opportunities.
Over on the Republican side, it looks better and better for John McCain as Mike Huckabee sucked more of the wind out of Mitt Romney's chances with his wins in West Virginia and the deeper south. This coupled with Romney's lack of success in the states he has spent a bazillion dollars might close down the store.
McCain/Huckabee? It could happen. What McCain lacks in Fundamentalist appeal, Huckabee makes up in pulpit-tude. Plus I can imagine hearing Huckabee adding the bottom to "Dance to the Music."