John Hood has belatedly come to the conclusion that I’ve long held (well, for nearly a week, anyway) that Johns Kerry and Edwards are the only Democrats who have a legitimate shot at the nomination at this point.
Edwards is now the only Democrat in the presidential field who can derail Kerry’s seeming inevitability. It will have to occur next Tuesday, February 3, where the top four New Hampshire finishers will compete in seven states stretching from the East Coast over to the plains and down to the south and southwest. While the media coverage and campaign events have focused almost exclusively on the first two contests in the past few weeks, you can’t say the same thing about the serious campaigns. They’ve been lining up endorsements, buying up ad time, signing up volunteers, collecting cash, and making occasional campaign stops.
He then does a state-by-state analysis of the seven primaries scheduled for next week. He concludes,
Forget all the talk about Dean waiting to make it a contest in February 7 in Michigan, where he’s running no better in the polls than Edwards, believe it or not. That’s just Dean’s attempt to manage expectations. It seems to me that if Kerry is to be stopped from getting the nomination, it would have to happen in one of three ways: 1) Howard Dean would have to win Delaware and New Mexico and pull off a surprise somewhere else, like Arizona; 2) Wes Clark would have to recover his footing and win Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico; or 3) John Edwards would have to add a victory in Oklahoma or Missouri, or both, to his expected win in South Carolina, setting up a two-man race between a blue-blood New England leftist and a red-blood southern liberal with moderate affectations. The last scenario may be unlikely, but the first two just don’t seem plausible.
Sounds about right to me.