Pace Victor Davis Hanson — who I’m told is winning a Bradley Award, so congratulations are in order — I don’t think it’s really all that clear that Barack Obama can’t win any of the big states this fall just because he lost their Democratic primaries. I think the only states where that applies are Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he may not be able to win the white working-class votes he needs to put himself over the top. That’s bad enough since that may be all it takes for John McCain to beat him, but let’s not pretend the guy is going to lose California or New York — he’s not.
Since the New Hampshire primary, Obama has consistently kept hope alive — for Hillary Clinton. Every time he has had her on the ropes, he has failed to deliver the knockout punch. But like most of the hope Obama so audaciously peddles, it is a false hope. Even after last night, Clinton cannot win the nomination under any scenario in which she does not herself invite general election defeat. If they go all the way to the convention, the Democrats will be throwing away some of their biggest advantages over McCain. If they take the nomination away from the winner of the popular vote and pledged delegates, they will be throwing away some of their most enthusiastic and loyal voters.
Obama is a very risky candidate. If it were earlier in the process, that would be a powerful argument for Clinton. But at this point, the biggest risk for the Democrats is not defining McCain while their cash and organizational advantages are at their greatest, and spending the next few weeks defining each other instead.