Now they are four. Sort of. Kind of.
The Republican race is between Mitt Romney and Florida winner, John McCain, and the early betting is on McCain. Technically, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race, but they're not doing much and they are not getting and won't get much news coverage. And coverage matters. You can't shake enough hands in the twenty-plus states that vote next Tuesday to make a difference; it comes down to news coverage and TV ads, mostly. And it's a two-man race. Republicans like order, like to have a nominee, and probably dislike primary scuffling more than Democrats. So there's a good chance Super Tuesday could decide it.
The Democrats have a two-person race, too. Technically, former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel hasn't withdrawn (unless I missed it, and I might have) but he's not campaigning and doesn't matter; it's between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
That's harder to pick. Clinton was in the field first, organizing. But Obama is hot, coming off South Carolina. And I think Bill Clinton annoyed a lot of voters by going negative against Obama. Can candidate Clinton get ex-president Clinton to shut up? We'll find out. And who'd be in charge in a new Clinton White House anyway? And would he still be romancing interns? Or would it be her turn? Hard questions all.
The late Molly Ivins, a gifted political reporter, used to say that American politics was the best free entertainment the world has ever known. She'd have loved this one. I miss her.