I've been a little post-happy the last two days. I promise, this is the last one for the weekend (unless something really interesting comes up tomorrow).
The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats' prolonged primary season will benefit John McCain. Supposedly, McCain can now begin "uniting" the Republican Party behind him and begin a national general election campaign, while Barack and Hillary are left to squabble over who the nominee will be. I've begun to wonder if the opposite is true.
As you may recall, the Florida legislature moved the date of its primary to be ahead of Super Tuesday. The Democratic National Committee had told it not to do so, and threatened to refuse to seat Florida's delegates at the convention. Well, Florida stuck to its guns (and according to the current DNC rules, Florida will have no voice in choosing the Democratic nominee). The major Democratic candidates all agreed not to campaign in Florida before its primary.
The Republicans took a more laid-back approach, though, and just stripped Florida of half of its delegates to the Republican convention. The Florida Republican party was thrilled. It believes that as a result, the Republican candidate will have a head start in Florida for the general election, since he's already campaigned and built an organization there, whereas the Democrats didn't bother. (The DNC is still weighing whether to hold caucuses in Florida and Michigan, which also jumped the gun, and seat delegates based on those results.)
Does the same hold true for the Democrats? Three states that are sure to be pivotal in November--Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio--are going to see a whole lot of love from Clinton and Obama. We already know about the intense organization-building taking place in Cincinnati, and I can only assume the same is happeneing in Madison, Milwaukee, Houston, Dallas, and so on. So this supposed disadvantage (that the Dems will actually elect a nominee rather than simply coronate one) might work out in the Democrats' favor. Well in advance of the conventions, the Democratic nominee will have GOTV organizations in place. The still-to-be-contested primary states will have a lot of opportunity to see the eventual nominee. And John McCain will have to start from scratch.