So no one won on the Democratic side won yesterday. In fact, both candidates have some things to be happy about (Hillary--CA, MA, and NJ; Obama--MO, CT, DE, and the wipe outs in the Rocky Mountain states and deep South), but nothing too unexpected. For a while the media really was buying the Clinton spin about her "upset" win in MA. To be fair, the size of her victory (15 points) seemed a surprise but the polls had her, on average, up 12 in the week leading up to yesterday. The best thing that happened to Hillary was that the early exit polls had Obama up in NJ, MA, and CA, making her wins there appear surprising when, in fact, they were not. So Obama appears to have slightly won more delegates and won more states (13-8 with NM still too close to call), and he has the calendar and money advantage.
As for the former, the next two weeks play to his strengths. Saturday has a primary in Louisiana and caucuses in Washington (state) and Nebraska plus the Virgin Islands. Considering how well Obama has done in the deep south and with African Americans, I don't see how he doesn't win LA. Likewise, he has done extremely well in caucus states, winning them all except Nevada, and I imagine the trend will continue in WA and ME. My knowledge of politics in the VI is limited (although I can recommend some good restaurants on St. Croix), so I don't know what will happen with those 9 delegates, and I don't think the media will care. (If the Clinton team starts to stress a victory in VI after Obama won the other 3 races, I think the media will really start to laugh.)
The next day is the Maine caucus, and I stick with my above theory. Next Tuesday, I get to vote! It's the Beltway Primary with DC, MD, and VA, and Obama is favored, I would think, in all three although VA appears to be where Hillary is going to put up a fight. (Obama is already advertising here.) The following Tuesday (2/19) is Hawaii and Wisconsin. Considering that Obama was born in the former and seems to do well in the Midwest, he again appears the favorite in both states. If he runs the table (excluding the VI) or loses just one of these races, he is going to build up a good amount of momentum (particularly since the media will be spending less and less time on a GOP race that really has no more drama unless McCain has a health scare or decides to announce that he is gay (not that there is anything wrong with that but I imagine many GOP primary voters would disagree)).
The big focus will be on March 4 when Ohio and Texas vote (plus Rhode Island and Vermont). If Obama wins both (big if), I don't see how he can be denied the nomination. He may try to make Texas his big test considering his trouble with the Hispanic vote and use it the way JFK used West Virginia to show that a Catholic can win an overwhelming Protestant state.
The key for Obama is to keep racking up wins over the next two weeks, get good media, and pick up more endorsements (most helpful would be Edwards, Richardson, or, the holy grail, Gore), and look like the anointed one. Because of the insane allocation of delegates, no candidate will cross the 50% threshold without superdelegates, so either Clinton or Obama will have to appear to have won in order for the party not to get torn asunder.
I note that March 8 is Wyoming and March 11 is Mississippi, two states that Obama will win easily assuming the race is still a battle; there is then nothing until April 22 with Pennsylvania. If Obama has won everything but TX and OH, she will be in good position to win although the race will not be over; if Obama wins either of those two states (and all the other contests), he will be the clear front runner.
Having said all of this, I still in my gut think that Hillary will be the nominee with the support of working class and older voters and Hispanics plus a lot of Clinton loyalists (although a number of us are supporting Obama). While I will certainly be disappointed, I will enthusiastically support her provided that (1) superdelegates or craziness with MI/FL don't put her over the top when Obama appears to be the choice of the voters and (2) she and her husband avoid the racial routine leading up to SC.
While I keep stressing that we know nothing, yesterday really went, for the most part, as predicted although there were some signs of an Obama surge that wasn't, but it was not the hype leading up to NH with poll after poll supporting such an impression.