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A good night for Democrats

And so it continues. Contrary to what most commentators think, this is good news for the Democrats. Granted, maybe Clinton and Obama will tear each other apart and damage their party’s chances for the general election. Perhaps McCain can keep away from all this and look like a president-in-waiting, the patriarch demonstrating noble patience while the kids fight it out.

There are several reasons to think again, however.

1) The Democratic race is less about ideas and more about personality. Most Democrats are happy with both candidates would likely support whoever the eventual winner is.

2) Obama and Clinton may not see the point of continually attacking each other – both have too many skeletons in their own closets to risk it.

3) The more the two candidates fly around the country attempting to win primaries, the more they enthuse party activists in key general election states, particularly Ohio and Pennsylvania. If the race was sown up last night, it is unlikely the winner would have felt compelled to make these visits.

4) While the Democrats will continue to spend money, it appears they will continue to raise it as well – Obama raised over $30 million in January.

5) As the US economy slips into likely recession, focus on bread and butter issues should benefit the Democrats. The focus on the economy will be particularly sharp as Obama and Clinton fight it out in the rust belt states that are still in play.

6) The longer both Democrats continue to cancel each other out, the less likely it is that the eventual winner will be able to ignore the eventual loser when it comes to choosing a running mate. Why choose one when you can have both?

7) McCain might be able to beat either Democrat, but surely not both?

8) Meanwhile, McCain will continue to be loathed by many elements in his party. Huckabee is unlikely to quit the race until he has extracts something from McCain. The Republican race is much more about fundamental differences on policy, a fact much more likely to lead to division.

9) The Democrats can legitimately claim they are campaigning in more states and reaching more people. No coronation here.

10) There appears to be little appetite to end the race. Public interest in the election is at a record high. People want more, and the Democrats are going to give it to them.

Bad timing

Super Duper Shrove Tuesday - a diary