It's conventional wisdom that the Democrats won't have a clear-cut front-runner coming out of Super Tuesday, but that John McCain could sew up the Republican nomination with enough victories. And no one is cheering more for McCain to wrap it up tonight than the Democrats.
Before you start emailing me wondering what I've been smoking and where you can score some for this weekend, there are a number of reasons why Democrats are hoping McCain does well enough to knock out Mitt Romney. Here are a few of them.
1) Democrat surrogates can start undercutting McCain. We've already seen the initial stages of the attempts to derail the "Straight Talk Express." The Hill and the Washington Post have already published pieces talking about how McCain isn't exactly Mr. Popular in the halls of the Senate. If McCain takes a commanding lead in the delegate count after tonight, watch for more of those stories to come out.
2) More face time for Democrats. Once the Republican nomination is pretty much determined, the media have no need to pay attention to the presumed nominee as much as they did during the campaign. With the Democrats still battling, the media have an easy choice to make. Follow the fighting and reject the Republican.
3) A Republican crisis of conscience. It's no secret that McCain's as popular in the GOP as Michael Moore at an all-you-can-eat buffet. If he's the nominee, the Republican base will have to struggle with voting for the party's nominee or voting their conscience. Given the number of Republicans who have said they won't vote for McCain under any circumstances, an extended time to mull over this situation will cause many Republicans to stay conflicted and break up the current Republican Party as we know it.
4) More time to paint McCain as corrupt. This could go under the first point, but it deserves its own spot because it's one of those things that could destroy McCain's Presidential hopes. Look back at McCain's history in Congress and you'll see a lot of questionable actions that could easily be turned into an attack ad by the Democrats. And just like with the negative news stories mentioned earlier, don't be surprised if some of these stories of corruption start to leak out "all of the sudden."
5) Gives McCain more time to mess up. Give any politician enough time and they will screw up. Whether it's a big problem or a small gaffe depends on the circumstances. If McCain's the nominee and he messes up, I guarantee the media will be there to cover it, analyze it, spin it, and repeat it for days on end. If McCain wins the public relations side of the primary process tonight, the countdown clock towards McCain's screw-up will start.
6) The big question: Can McCain be "swift boated"? Since the 2004 election, Democrats have been looking for an opportunity to nail a Republican with what they perceive that Bush did to John Kerry. With McCain, Democrats will have the chance to get one back for their side. McCain's military hasn't been delved into yet, but trust me Democrat operatives will be, looking for anything to sink McCain.
There are probably others that I didn't mention, but it's clear that Democrat strategists are rubbing their hands together and hoping John McCain makes short work of the rest of the Republican field on Super Tuesday.