McCain and Clinton win Florida
98% of precincts have reported results according to CNN.com. Let's rock.
- John McCain 36%: He only beat Mitt Romney by five percentage points today. Yes, it's his second big win in a row against Romney, but no, let's not offer McCain the pearl diadem and purple toga quite yet.
- Mitt Romney 31%: I'm sure the Romney campaign would have liked to put Romney over the top in Florida to give him some Mitt-mentum going into the February 5th primaries. On the other hand, Romney has been contesting the primary elections one by one on a national basis, and he's been staying competitive each time. Solid second place doesn't sound like much, but it's a whole lot better than what Giuliani and Huckabee have going for them.
- Rudy Giuliani 15%: He put all of his chips on Florida and just barely beat Mike "Mr. 14% of the Vote" Huckabee. The conventional wisdom all through today is that Giuliani, whether by accident or design, seriously damaged his campaign with his Florida strategy. It could be that Giuliani can still salvage his campaign with big wins next week. I'd be more confident of those big wins if Giuliani had done better today.
- Mike Huckabee 14%: He couldn't beat Giuliani, and rumors are rife that Giuliani is dropping out of the race any day now. At least a win in Iowa in 2008 gives him a solid jumping-off point for the 2012 campaign.
- Ron Paul 3%: His importance is not his in pathetically small voting base, but in his evolution of the tactics of insurgency campaigning for future third-party/insurgent candidates. Here's the Dean/Paul model for an insurgent campaign in a nutshell:
- Form a hard-core cadre of fanatically devoted nutballs.
- Define yourself as "the only candidate who really believes in X", where X is something believed in by your rivals with inferior ideological purity. The pioneering examples are X="following the Constitution" (Ron Paul) and X="being a Democrat" (Howard Dean).
- Make sure that your followers compulsively chant the mantra at all times. Only the public's ignorance of the true importance of X is keeping them from recognizing your inherent greatness as the one true believer in X.
- Bash conservatives to get media attention until you get elected.
- Hillary Clinton 50%: The Florida race is another uncontested win for Hillary Clinton, so don't read too much into this. On the other hand, despite the fact that Florida and Michigan have been penalized with a 100% loss of the Democrats by the DNC, Hillary Clinton is nevertheless making a push to have delegates from these states pledged to her at the national convention. Her opponents are arguing that this would be a serious breach of party rules. Clinton's reply is something along the lines of "Rules are for Republicans, dude."
- Barack Obama 33%: He didn't contest the election and got 33%. In any ordinary election year, this would be a decent result in an uncontested primary. Against Hillary Clinton, staying out of Florida might have been a tactical mistake.
- John Edwards 14%: He also didn't contest the election, but he also ended up adding weight to the impression that he is a third-place loser. On the bright side, losing builds character, and as an "empty suit", character is the primary thing that you're lacking.
- Dennis Kucinich 1%: He also didn't contest the election, or maybe he did and nobody noticed.