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February 12, 2008

Balz' Eight Questions

The Wasthington Post's Dan Balz considers "8 Questions the Potomac Primary Could Answer" in today's paper. They are good questions, but the answers are largely just guesswork. Click on over to see what he thinks, then come back here for my answers. I disagree with Balz on the answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. The rest are either too obvious or too speculative to say.

1) Will a Sweep by Obama Make Him the Front-Runner?
Balz says "no." I say "yes." At the moment, he is out in front merely because he managed to come from obscurity to beat Senator Inevitable. Clinton spent the last year losing ground, even if she's still ahead in some national polls. Her recent losses, along with her money problems and the shakeup in her campaign team are sending bad signs to primary voters. Wins in Ohio and Texas will go a long way toward fixing the impression that her campaign is in freefall.

On the other hand, if Obama sweeps Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas, I think we can safely call him the frontrunner. At that point, he'll have enough of a lead on Clinton that even with the dueling methods of counting pledged delegates he'll be a clear winner.

INSERT: Yeah, loose shit. The Potomac Primaries (DC, Virginia, Maryland) are today. Wisconsin is next week. Ohio and Texas are March 4.

2) Will the Clinton-Obama Race Split the Party?
No. As fun as it is to daydream about Clinton losing it during one of the upcoming debates and saying something overtly racist, I don't believe that it is going to happen. I'm sure you've noticed that both campaigns have pulled back somewhat from the cliff's edge they were fighting on in the past month. However personal it gets sometimes, these are professional politicians. They are not going to sacrifice the party; it would mean that even if they took down their opponent, they'd have sown the seeds of their own defeat. Keep in mind that the superdelegates, who it appears will be deciding this race, are also professional politicians who rely on the continuation of the DNC to remain in power.

As far as the observation that Obama's supporters are unlikely to turn out for Clinton in the general election, I think that was true even before the racist episodes.

3) Will Edwards Endorse Someone Soon?
Edwards missed his chance to really extort a position out of one of the candidates. He may still be able to cut a deal, but his political clout lessens every day. Too much time has passed; his supporters have already switched to one of the remaining candidates.

Balz writes that "[a]n endorsement would make a big splash," but I think that's only true to the extent that it will spawn a thousand articles and blog posts. But I doubt very much it will sway many voters.

I look forward to seeing what the morons think in the comments. We should have better guesses by this evening.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 05:06 AM

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