At least for Republicans
Months of nail-biting speculation may finally come to a close tonight as 24 American states vote in the 2008 Presidential primaries -- at least for Republicans.
1,023 delegates to the 2008 Republican Convention are up for grabs as John McCain and Mitt Romney -- with the Colbert/Stewart/O'Brien-made Mike Huckabee trailing in the distance -- duke it out for Republican supremacy.
1,191 will be necessary to win the Republican nomination. McCain currently has 111 delegates, while Romney has won 94. A sweeping victory for either man today (although the polls clearly favour McCain, even if conservative Republicans don't) could easily put him within jogging distance of victory.
Following a huge victory in Florida and a landslide of endorsements -- including the most recent one from former Republican nominee Bob Dole -- McCain clearly holds the momentum in this race, and recently announced that he expects to close out the Republican contest tonight -- or at least position himself with a stranglehold on it -- tonight.
However, we won't know if that's happened or not until the polls close tonight.
In the meantime, Romney's knives have come out, as they predictably do after high-profile endorsements. While needling McCain over Dole's support, announcing "Well, it's probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me," Romney has also released a new attack ad:
Appealing to self-declared conservatives could actually turn out to be a very potent tactic for Romney, according to David Frum. "He is at his strongest in the states where the rules allow independents to vote in the party primary of their choice," said Frum. "Where the primaries are closed, he doesn't do so well."
McCain's unwillingness to pander to the Republican party's conservative base could still prove his undoing. But with Democrat and independent swing votes being absolutely crucial to winning come November, McCain may still win based on the compulsive Republican desire for victory alone.
Super Tuesday, for Republicans, at least, will certainly clarify the picture.
Meanwhile, the Democratic race is expected to be anything but clear. With 1,681 deligates up for grabs, with 2,025 necessary to win, most Democrats expect Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to be contesting the Democratic nomination right up to the Democratic National Convention.
Obama, for one, is expecting a split decision today, which could actually turn out to play into the Democrat's corner, as the captivating Clinton/Obama duel continues to hog the headlines, even away from a largely-decided Republican candidate.
With Democrats claiming the lion's share of attention, the Republican nominee -- even if it is every Democrat's favourite Republican, John McCain -- could find himself fighting an uphill battle.
One way or the other, Super Tuesday could dictate the course of the presidential election, even if it doesn't produce a pair of acclaimable candidates.