Super Tuesday: Just the Beginning of a Long, Complex Slog

Clinton and Obama
No, she's not throwing it in. Photo: Getty Images

Super Tuesday wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were expecting a de facto national primary that finally determined our presidential candidates, but while McCain seems to have the Republican nomination locked up, judging from the ever-tighter polls it looks like the Democrats will be slugging it out long after the California returns are finally official tomorrow morning. Both campaigns will try to spin “victories” out of whatever the results actually are, having been steadily lowering expectations in the run-up to today. The media, meanwhile, won't be able to resist favoring one or the other as the winner, but what will they base it on? Who took the most states? Who took the most delegates? Who won the popular vote? Or who beat expectations? Which leaves the most important question of all — where (and when) will this all end?

• Walter Shapiro thinks the truly decisive primary day could be March 4, when Texas and Ohio vote. And he calls it Super-Duper Party-Pooper Tuesday. [Salon]

• Jim Geraghty says that, after today, the Democrats will have to focus on primaries that nobody has really paid attention to before, like Nebraska and Maine. [The Campaign Spot/National Review]

• John Nichols compares the Clinton campaign’s confident prediction from a few weeks back that they would wrap up the nomination on Super Tuesday with its latest prediction that the race will continue for months. [Nation]

• Mark Murray reports that the Clinton campaign thinks the race may continue right up until the convention. [First Read/MSNBC]

• Dan Balz believes Obama is better suited to win in the long campaign that follows Super Tuesday thanks of his fund-raising advantage and his favorable status in the states that follow. [WP]

• Meanwhile, Karen Tumulty notes that Obama didn’t just raise more money (a lot more) in January, but he’s been raising it in small donations, which means he can tap those same donors again — unlike Clinton, whose donors have often already given the max. [Swampland/Time]

• Ben Smith looks deep into the future and sees Pennsylvania, which holds its primary — the last with a large number of delegates at stake — on April 22. As the campaigns throw everything they have at it, it becomes a sort of new Iowa. [Politico] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.