Edwards is dropping out of the race according to the AP.
Guiliani, whose fate was sealed last night, looks to be planning on endorsing McCain.
McCain beat Romney in Florida (I was hoping for the other way around, but the writing was on the wall) and is now almost certain to be the Republican nominee for President. I can't imagine a scenario, barring his death (he is pretty old) or a major snafu that doesn't put him into that position.
Hillary Clinton got the most votes in Florida last night, but it was a hollow "victory" and was reported as such. I watched the news coverage last night, and it seemed like the press treated her with a fair amount of skepticism for her "victory" lap.
Her basic case, which is that Florida voters turned out in huge number and should be counted, isn't wrong. The problem is that there wasn't a real campaign in Florida. No one actually ran there. So, with her name recognition and the amount of early voting, the results simply reflect what the national polls have reflected. If you look at polls in Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire and Nevada...even the states Obama didn't win were very close. The reason is that when a real campaign is engaged, Obama closes the gap time and time again. We can't know what the results of a real Florida campaign would have been. Clinton, likely, would have won. But we don't know now either.
So... in the end...where does that leave us?
Edwards dropping out is a shame. He ran a great campaign and was fantastic in the debates. It'll be interesting to see if his voters disappear, or if they go to any particular camp (that would be pretty much a 15-20% boost for either candidate) or if they're dispersed between them. I doubt he'll endorse anyone.
But McCain getting into this position says two things. One is that the man, no matter how you feel about him, is tough as nails and connects with voters on a very real level. He's formidable. Now, I'd argue that even though he didn't have a lot of money (the press kept talking about this) it's not like he needed to introduce himself to voters. He's been running for President since, it seems like, the Gilded Age. But, to be fair, he was written off, left for dead, and here is on the verge of a nomination for President. Impressive no doubt.
It does, though, speak to how weak the Republican party is. They've basically got no options. They begrudgingly support each candidate, including McCain. With Guiliani dead in the water, his endorsement won't do much. It'll just confirm McCain as the frontrunner.
That being said...I'm curious how Democratic voters will respond to McCain's standing. Does the prospect of Clinton versus McCain send chills down the spines of Democratic voters? It does mine. I'm feeling like this election is ours to lose, and that's almost absurd considering the national pulse.
Then again, Obama's untested and McCain is as close to a traditional candidate as America can possibly find. An old sawhorse with white hair, a white face, years in the Senate and credentials as a bona fide war hero. In the question of the past versus the future, America doesn't always pick the future.
Still, I like Obama's chances against McCain better than Clintons. He is, at the very least, a stark contrast and something that's incredibly new. In a "change" election, he is positioned to be that candidate.
Never, though, count out the Clintons. Come November, if she's being crowned the first woman to ever be President, I'll be eating these words.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.