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A Few Random Thoughts

1. It continues to annoy me that commentators on the cable networks confuse electoral momentum for the random quirks of the primary calendar. Nothing new happened--Obama didn't "rebound" in any meaningful sense, any more than he'll be "losing ground" when he gets beaten badly in West Virginia and Kentucky. North Carolina was an Obama state in terms of demography and political culture, so he won it comfortably; Indiana was a tossup, so it was a close race there. Not that the Clinton campaign should derive any satisfaction from this--the lines between the two coalitions are clearer and more static than ever, and Obama's is a little bit larger. Indeed, from looking at election results, I think you could easily make the case that nothing really new has happened in the race since Super Tuesday. I just wish someone on TV would point out the role that happenstance primary scheduling plays in shaping this whole narrative. (It's an interesting question whether the race would have played out differently had Super Tuesday been followed by Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania.)

2. Now that, in Indiana, Obama has (as he did in other states, like Wisconsin and Missouri) slightly outperformed poll expectations in a heavily white state, can we put to rest the notion that there's any systematic Bradley effect at work in the race? Look: any candidate, black or white, will outperform polls by a bit in some states and underperform by a bit in others. You can't scream "Bradley effect" every time the latter happens and ignore it every time the former happens. It just puzzles me why, in a situation where any number of hypotheses can plausibly explain the observed results, some commentators insist on advancing the one theory that paints a large segment of the American public as closet racists.

3. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that eighteen months ago, the conventional wisdom among pretty much everybody was that the Democratic race would consist of a Mark Warner or an Evan Bayh assembling a coalition of working-class, rural, socially conservative Democrats challenging the Hillary coalition of African-Americans and urban liberals. And here we are...

--Josh Patashnik