It’s Not Over: Is Huckabee the Story?

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All the networks have let their A-teams go home for the night (bye, Wolf!), but I’m still here. Why? Because it’s not clear what Huckabee will accomplish tonight. He’s already won Kansas, he’s leading in Louisiana by 2 percent with 93 percent of the state reporting, and he’s trailing in Washington by 2 percent with 78 percent of the state reporting.

He could come away with one win or three wins. Either way, we’ve got a real situation on our hands. It looks like most of the voters who voted for Romney are joining the Huckabee folks; Huckabee isn’t the true conservative that many Republicans are seeking, but apparently he’s conservative enough to serve as the alternative to moderate/maverick John McCain. Looks like a major case of buyer’s remorse in the first primaries since John McCain was crowned the presumptive nominee.

If this continues on Tuesday, when Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. vote, it will be a wholesale repudiation of the Republican leaders who are slowly and begrudgingly coming to back John McCain.

So who’s backing Huckabee? According to CNN’s exit polls out of Louisiana, Huckabee found his most support among regular church-goers, evangelicals, economically minded voters (particularly those who feel the economy is performing poorly), young Republicans, and true hard-core conservatives. Is that a coalition that can come through for Huckabee in the next round? We only have to wait three days to find out.

But more importantly, will it matter? Probably not. According to CNN’s calculations, Huckabee can win every single state left on the Republican primary calendar by a 50-40 margin and John McCain will still win the delegate contest. (CNN assumes Ron Paul takes 10 percent, but Washington proves he may do better than that.) This is a lost cause for Huckabee. Will he realize that and let the Republican Party coalesce around McCain? Or will he ride this thing out (he looks like he’s having fun, after all) so Republicans have a contest instead of a coronation? And could this have happened if Romney was still in the race splitting the conservative vote with Huckabee?

There are open questions in a Republican race that seemed, just a few days ago, to be all answers.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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