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Mini-Super Tuesday (March 4) has had its way with the Democratic Primary. Questions as to whether Sen. Clinton would take one for the team are now mute. She seems headed for Denver, and perhaps a national party convention this country has not seen the like of in years. Super delegates, credential challenges, and six weeks of mutual pummeling from now until the April 23 Pennsylvania primary will test each candidate’s character, endurance and judgment. For all the moaning and groaning, though, this may play well for the nation.
The Democrats have to choose between two candidates, each of whose candidacy has already broken precedents reaching back to the founding of the Republic. Which ever candidate wins, the nation will have seen her or him in a political fight and campaign of historic proportions and impact. Does he/she have the stamina and stomach for the fight? Can she/he control his/her campaign in the trenches? Will he/she have the maturity to avoid a blow in the primary that might cripple the Party’s campaign in November? If they both get to Denver, there need be no debate on either experience or ability. Just getting there should answer that question for each candidate.
As for Independents in Texas and Ohio, they were out in force. Exit poles put them at 22 percent in Ohio and 24 percent in Texas. Of these, Sen. Obama won 54% in the former and 52% in the latter, well below his 66% in Virginia, 62% in Maryland and 64% in Wisconsin, where Independents were estimated at 28% of those voting. Had Obama won 55% of the Independents in Texas, he would have won the primary.
Independents remain the margin, yet the least predictable, and the least polled. Stay tuned.