Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


Tsunami in Sight

By Shawn Healy
Greetings from one of the 24 states set to hold a primary or caucus for either the Democratic Party, Republican Party, or both tomorrow. We've been waiting for a long time for the race to finally pass through our neck of the woods, although it meant only brief touch downs by Sen. John McCain on Friday and former Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Obama have set their sights elsewhere, an acknowledgment of Barack's favorite son status in the Land of Lincoln.

Polls here show wide leads for Obama among the lingering Democrats, Clinton and former Sen. Mike Gravel, and McCain over Romney, Huckabee and Paul in the remaining Republican field, but the contest is close in several of the two dozen or so other states where the major candidates have set their sights. The contest between Clinton and Obama is particularly interesting and difficult to call. Obama has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls and should fare well in sparsely populated states like North Dakota, Alaska, Idaho and Kansas tomorrow. Clinton may sweep the northeast, although Massachusetts and maybe New Jersey are in play. California is increasingly up for grabs, although with the proportional representation of delegates at work there and in most Democratic contests, look for Clinton and Obama to divide delegates roughly equally tomorrow.

The Republican side is a bit easier to predict. McCain holds wide leads in the polls in most of the 21 contests slated for tomorrow. Expect McCain, Romney and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, to score favorite son victories in their respective home states (AZ, MA and AR), and for McCain to sweep the balance of the Northeast with winner-take-all primaries. Romney should win convincingly in Utah, and the southern states of Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama remain competitive, three-way contests. California once appeared as a lock for McCain, but Romney is surging there and recent polls show him with a narrow lead.

What I can predict for certain tomorrow is that it will be a long evening of complicated election returns. The various state nominating processes also vary by party, and "delegate math" adds yet another layer of confusion. I expect Hillary Clinton to emerge on Wednesday morning with more delegates than Obama, but Barack may end up winning more states given his emphasis on smaller caucus states that trend "red." McCain should clean up on delegates with his substantial lead in the winner-take-all states. A win for Romney in the Golden State would provide him with additional leverage to stay in the race, and Huckabee could make a similar case should he sweep the South.

Check back here on Wednesday for a thorough analysis of tomorrow's developments. In addition to this blog, I will also record another podcast with Nathan Richie and also participate in an evening program at the Freedom Museum titled "Smart Mouth," where four young "movers and shakers" will pontificate on the state of the race one day after Tsunami Tuesday. Admission to the program is free, but please RSVP here or call 312.222.7871.

Hope to see you Wednesday, and if you are a registered voter in one of the 24 states in play tomorrow, please exercise your civic duty and weigh in on who should be our next President, not to mention the candidates down the ticket. Happy Election Eve!


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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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