The Skinny on Fat Tuesday

Call it the most competitive, high-stakes game of Jenga ever, with nothing less than the leadership of our democracy hanging in the balance.

Super Tuesday lived up to some expectations—a highly competitive Democratic race and a strong national showing for John McCain—while injecting more surprises and uncertainty into what promises to be a long and contested affair. As each candidate removed their state-shaped pieces from the leaning tower of available delegates, starting with Mike Huckabee scoring a surprise victory in the West Virginia primary convention with a little politicking help from McCain supporters who threw their weight behind the Arkansas governor to block any Mitt Romney momentum, and ending with the penultimate super-prize of California going to Hillary Clinton in a startlingly lopsided affair; each candidate hoped to yank the essential building blocks of any presidential nomination out from under their opponents.

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Sean Cronin