The Obama campaign points out that their man won a majority of the states in play, which is certainly true. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue that Utah, Idaho, and North Dakota are a better prize than New York and California. The bottom-line, however, is that if you factor out the more exuberant Zogby-fueled dreams of the weekend, Obama did quite well relative to his baseline of a week ago. The February 5 landscape favored Clinton, and Obama managed to not lose any of “his” states while poaching Connecticut and narrowly grabbing contested Missouri. Clinton won, but most indications are that she won’t have won nearly enough delegates to put this thing out of reach.
Now the landscape gets much more favorable for Obama. On Saturday, it’s Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington. Then on Sunday it’s Maine. Then Tuesday offers Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Then February 19 offers Wisconsin and Hawaii. That’s a lot of states, but not a ton of delegates. On March 4 comes the big showdown in Texas and Ohio. The question is whether Obama can build up enough momentum between now and March 4 to put Clinton away, or whether Clinton can draw enough blood in the intermediate states to shut him down on the March 4 firewall.
Who wins that is anyone’s guess at this point. One thing I can predict is that you’ll see a lot of handwringing about how this fight is dooming the Democratic Party. It’s all, as best I can tell, total nonsense. Disagreeing about which of two strong leaders should go try to implement a pretty widely agreed upon vision of national policy is a healthy thing to do. Meanwhile, the stuff that really matters for general election purposes won’t for many months.