Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


The Morning After

By Shawn Healy
I must confess to a little bit of a letdown now that Tsunami Tuesday has come and gone. True, many interesting contests remain, and much drama will surround some of these individual states (Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas, for example), but the quasi-national primary with an evening of non-stop returns from zip codes in every corner of the country is over, and we are left to sort through the leftovers of yesterday's 24 course, or should I say state, meal that political pundits will savor long after the last bite.

Starting with the Democrats, this was an evening with no decisive outcome either way, with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both landing several punches, but forcing the pundit class to declare a split decision and multiple rematches when the dust settled. Obama won 13 of the 21 Democratic contests, but Clinton retains a narrow lead in the critical delegate count.

The NY senator won her home state, along with delegate-rich NJ and CA. She also scored a surprisingly easy victory in MA after the Kennedy klan flocked to Obama in full force. Obama split the South with Clinton, taking GA and AL while Hillary claimed AR, TN and OK. The IL senator also defended his home turf, but snagged CT from the Northeast and the Show Me State in the heartland, MO. Obama dominated the sparsely-populated and red-trending Great Plains with superior organization in a scramble to win states to offset Clinton's delegate windfall.

On the morning after, the race is far from decided, so Clinton and Obama soldier on to LA, WA, and ME this weekend, followed by the Potomac Primary (MD, VA, and DC) on Tuesday. I expect Obama to prevail in the bulk of these contests, placing pressure on Clinton to come back in WI on Feb. 19, and OH and TX on Mar. 4. In all likelihood, this contest will not be settled until Apr. 22 in PA at the earliest, with the prospects of a split decision heading into Denver for the DNC in August.

The Republican picture is far less complicated. Sen. John McCain landed several severe body blows to upstart Gov. Mitt Romney, but the former MA governor did end the day with 7 state victories, many of them in sparsely-populated states with few delegates. McCain jumped to a potentially insurmountable lead in the delegate count as he is roughly 400 away from clinching the nomination. He won the winner-take-all states of NY, CT, NJ, DE, AZ and MO, and dominated in CA, prevailing in all but three counties across the Golden State.

The surprise of the day was Gov. Mike Huckabee's success across his native South. He began the day with a narrow win in WV, and followed that up with a sweep of GA, AL, TN and AR. Contrary to Romney's suggestions heading into yesterday's 21 state contests, this is a two-man race, but it is between McCain and Huckabee, not Mitt.

Republicans look next to LA and KS on Saturday, then their own Potomac Primary on Tuesday. VA is key for Huckabee as he seeks to rally evangelicals once more and make a case to lead the GOP ticket in Nov. Romney vows to continue on through the convention, but given his distant third place finishes throughout the South and failure to steal CA yesterday, his path to the nomination is effectively blocked. In all honestly, the same is probably true for Huckabee, though he did make a strong case to balance the ticket as McCain's wing man.

Nathan Richie and I recorded another podcast this morning assessing yesterday's developments, along with future projections and extensive analysis of McCain's continued vulnerabilities with the conservative base of the GOP. Due to the blizzard that is sweeping the area, tonight's Smart Mouth program at the Freedom Museum has been postponed. Stay tuned for details of its new date and time, and also for continued analysis of this historic election.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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