The strange election season continues.
For our weekly online poll this week, we asked, "Of the four viable presidential candidates remaining, which would you most likely vote for?" We listed John McCain, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for people to choose from. That seemed like a safe call on Monday when we put the question up. "Everybody" knew, and the polls all said, that Super Tuesday wouldn't bring anything definitive on either side. That's certainly true on the Democratic side; the contest is likely to go until the convention. (Everybody knows, and the polls all say so.)
But McCain won decisively enough on the Republican side, and Romney has now dropped out. Mike Huckabee is still hanging around, though there isn't much point. McCain, barring anything unforseen, is going to be the GOP nominee. (This year, even saying that at this point makes me feel like I'm on shaky ground.) Romney was gracious in his concession speech, and made a good point:
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Sens. Clinton or Obama would win," Romney said.
McCain is going to have a tough fight, never mind all those polls showing him slightly beating either Democrat. I bet his campaign hasn't even decided what philosophy to run on yet. He has to mend fences with his base because he needs them to win, but he has to be careful not to offend the moderates and independents because he needs them, too. And how he runs against Hillary would be different from the way he'd have to run against Obama.