Predictions: Potomac

The news is slow enough that we might as well open a thread, although I’m not sure what it is we’ll be predicting. The outcomes are foregone conclusions (I think); want to bet the spreads? I’ll give you Barry O and Maverick -14 points in both Maryland and Virginia. Huck’s an easy play in the latter. How about this for a bet: Which party’s nomination will be wrapped up first? I was thinking this weekend that Her Majesty’s finished if Obama breaks through her Latino firewall in Texas next month. The superdelegates will cower before his momentum and melt away to his side, and party elders who aren’t named “Clinton” will want a word with her about staying in. And now, here we go:

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend…

Some donors also expressed concern about a widening money imbalance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton: Obama fund-raisers say he is taking in roughly $1 million a day, while Clinton fund-raisers say she is taking in about half of that, mostly online. Mrs. Clinton’s aides say that the campaign was virtually broke as of the Feb. 5 primaries, but that finances have stabilized.

Tonight’s delegate margin will be slim, as always, and KP sagely warns us never to underestimate a Clinton, but here’s the critical point from Byron York. Yes, the Clintons have sway and will continue to no matter what happens, but the party’s not going to shoot itself in the head to please Billy Jeff:

[I]f the delegate race remains extremely close, voters are not going to see Sen. Clinton as the co-leader – they’re going to question a system under which one guy wins primary after primary and the delegate totals stay in a virtual tie…

A few days ago, I asked an experienced Democratic strategist this question: Given everything that has happened in the campaign so far, is there any foreseeable scenario under which Hillary Clinton wins the nomination and black Democrats say, ‘Well, Obama ran a good race, but she won it fair and square'”? The strategist said, no, there is no such scenario. The damage has already been done, and if Obama is defeated by the votes of superdelegates loyal to the Clintons, Democrats will be a party plagued by divisions far more serious than anything Republicans are experiencing now.

The last, best chance for a Republican victory hangs by a thread. I’ve been leaning on Mary K to skip the GOP primary in her state today and cast a vote instead for our girl. From now until the bitter end: Cross over, cross over, cross over.