John Kerry continued his march towards the Democratic nomination convention in Boston this summer, scoring five victories in primaries this evening. Kerry spread his wins across the nation from Arizona to Delaware, New Mexico to North Dakota and Missouri. Building up his momentum, solidifying his front runner status. Kerry sits in a good position now, he can afford to swat away the broadsides from his remaining fellow Democrat contenders. Instead he can get his message out, on how a Kerry Presidency will offer a major change of direction from the Bush years. The more he takes that road, the more he looks like the nominee, and with the numbers piling up on his side he can look the part.
Howard Dean who six weeks ago was touted as a sure fire contender for President continued his free fall from the political map. Winning no primaries and finishing poorly in every state but New Mexico. Having fired his campaign team late last month, one wonders who he will turn out next. His support from the American union movement is at risk as well. They will begin to circle the labour wagons around the perceived best chance against President Bush, that no longer appears to be Gov. Dean. With the union exodus will go the needed money to continue on. His next most public yell may be that of Uncle.
The only other candidate that may offer up some resistance is John Edwards, the senator from North Carolina who was on Al Gore's VP short list in 2000. Edwards presently is holding down third place in the process, not close to Kerry but within striking distance of the stumbling Howard Dean. If Dean ends up pulling out of the race, those votes will be up for grabs. One would think the bulk of them would be aligned with Kerry, but there could be some slippage. Edwards could position himself as the fall back candidate if the Kerry candidacy should unravel.
General Wesley Clark rounds out the final four, a suspect Democrat at the best of times. Many still think he's a closet Republican, and accordingly haven't flocked to his side. He parked the fate of his campaign on the results from Oklahoma. And with a slim majority of the vote there, it would seem that the General will live to fight another day.
The rest of the motley crew finished with little to no profile, Dennis Kucinich and Rev. Al Sharpton barely registered in the ballot box. The only state that Sharpton seriously had a shot at was South Carolina, which is where he spent the bulk of his time, yet they voted with Kerry. Sharpton will probably stick around so as to keep his profile visible, but collecting delegates won't be his thing, it never was. As for Kucinich, one wonders how long it will take him to craft his farewell address.
For Republicans it's time to focus on the opposition, the GOP War Room will be working the Kerry file now. They may have the Dean, Edwards and Clark diversions to watch, but the real work will be on Kerry. There are points that the Republicans can counter on Kerry, he has his weaknesses; an erratic voting record, linked to a tax and spend Liberal in Dukakis, perception of a Northern elitist, so they had best get busy. His message is starting to catch fire with those Americans not faring so well over the years of Bush management. Kerry can continue to keep hitting those themes, presenting his options for America. His Democratic opponents aren't so lucky, they still must remain party oriented. For them it's all about survival and funding, neither of which is assured for much longer.