I just heard from one of my Democratic consultant friends that he doesn’t think a Kerry win in all but South Carolina today would necessarily be the effective end of the campaign. He thinks that the four contests over the next week might — the key word is might — arrest his momentum because a Wes Clark loss in Oklahoma would induce him to drop out. Assuming that Lieberman also goes and Sharpton is unable to do anything of significance, this would give Edwards a shot at winning Tennessee and Virginia on Feb. 10 while coming in a strong second in the prior weekend primaries in Michigan, Washington, and Maine. This would preserve a two-man race throughout the rest of February, during which states such as Idaho, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Utah could give Edwards an additional good night or two and the media and GOP will continue their anti-Kerry spade work. Then comes Super Tuesday.
Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, this source detests Kerry and thinks he would be harmful to Democratic Congressional prospects in the South and West.
I just noticed that he, and thus I, didn’t even mention Howard Dean.