The Democratic primary race is over. The elite, Washington establishment, conventional wisdom, talking heads declared it so last night. It doesn’t matter what Hillary does now, it’s officially over.
Actually, it’s been over for some time now, at least as far back as before the Texas primary. But this is the first time the opinionmakers in Washington have been willing to acknowledge that truth.
It was really quite amazing to watch last night as it slowly dawned on the talking heads that Obama was doing much better than they had anticipated. Rather than a blowout win for Hillary in Indiana and a tight race in North Carolina, it had gone the other way. Obama did better in North Carolina than Hillary had done in Pennsylvania and Indiana was considered too close to call until well past midnight. I mostly watched MSNBC because CNN’s coverage is so atrocious (their political analyst team consisted of two Hillary supporters and two Republicans). So the first person I heard state the obvious was Tim Russert, and after that it was like the scales fell off the eyes of the other pundits and they could see clearly for the first time. They started to acknowledge a grudging respect for Obama. After weeks of pounding him relentlessly with the Rev. Wright, “Bittergate” and other manufactured controversies, Obama had surprised them and done better than expected.
From this point on, if Hillary stays in the race she will be treated with the same disdain that Mike Huckabee saw after it was clear to everyone that John McCain had the Republican race sewed up. Before last night, she was still viewed as a viable candidate. Now she will be seen as a pretender, an annoyance, a “why are you still here? candidate. And the longer she drags it out, the worse it will get. It’s over.