Of all the wild scenarios spun out for the 2008 presidential campaign, perhaps the least likely was the one we face: a Republican contest that was effectively over the morning after Super Tuesday, and a Democratic cage match that could go on and on and on — all the way to a tumultuous and unpredictable convention in August.
I, for instance, offered an unconventional convention scenario back in July, noting that the uniquely early start (called “front loading”) of the primary process, combined with the compressed schedule, could provide a formula for an extended, pitched battle, with no candidate getting close to a majority after Super Tuesday. But I made it clear that this was more likely to happen on the Republican side, where many plausible candidates were running against one another and none seemed to be getting more than tepid support.
The Democrats, on the other hand, already had a front-running candidate, highly regarded by most Democratic partisans, and an enthusiastic electorate that wanted to pick a nominee and get on with the big battle — ending the Bush era once and for all. (more…)