Ok, this is getting weird. “Barack wins Virginia, right as polls close, at 7 p.m. He wins white males. Again, the white males voted for Barack Obama,” says Wonkette. this morning. 

“What is this, Disneyland?”

Hillary Clinton could be forgiven for thinking the same thing. What is going on here? Against all the normal rules of politics, Democrat upstart Barack Obama seems to be overtaking her.

CNN has projected that Obama has won Virginia. This is after finishing ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton in all five of the Democratic contests last weekend.

CNN is currently reporting that “the polls closed at 7 p.m. ET, and the Republican race between Sen. John McCain and Mike Huckabee remains competitive. Polls in Maryland and the District of Columbia were supposed to close at 8 p.m. ET, but a judge extended voting in Maryland for an extra 90 minutes due to poor weather and heavy turnout. In Virginia, Obama led Clinton 61-38 percent, early returns showed.” 

Here’s the commentary wash up so far — check back to the Crikey website later today as more results come in.

The Clinton/Obama split: There is a consensus that an Obama victory would be easier for the Democratic Party to accept, that Clinton’s supporters would be more receptive to an Obama nomination than his supporters would be to a Clinton win. That reflects the passion of many of his supporters and the fact that they are younger and in some cases newer to the process. What gives Democrats heart — and clearly worries Republicans — is that the Obama-Clinton contest does not reflect a deep, ideological split within the party. The Republican Party appears to be more divided along ideological lines right now. — Dan Balz, The Washington Post 

Will Edwards endorse Hillary?: In the past few days, Edwards has met with Clinton, and he’s due to see Barack Obama, presumably to figure out if he should endorse either. If Clinton ends up the Democratic nominee, it will not be hypocritical for Edwards to campaign for her. He can reasonably argue she will be a better president than John McCain. But if the choice is Obama or Clinton, he is stuck. Were Edwards to pick her over him, he would be endorsing a “corporate Democrat” fronting for the status quo over the fellow whom he approvingly cited as an advocate for change. If Edwards pulled such a move, all those powerful words he left behind on the campaign trail would have no meaning. — Mother Jones blog

Is Obama the new Reagan?: Is Barack Obama, the “change” candidate, really a pragmatist, albeit a liberal one? Is he a guy who, if elected as our 44th president, might compromise with Republicans on key issues as he begins to “heal the nation”? Here is the case I’ve tried to make, though I’m not fully convinced myself… — US News

It’s time for the press to scrutinise Chelsea. When Bill was first elected, Chelsea was 12; treating her with special deference made sense. Now she’s 28. She’s old enough to vote, get drunk, and run for Congress. She’s chosen to enter the political fray and campaign for her mom. That’s cool, but Chelsea is also old enough to answer for the positions she’s espousing and to be treated as any other national political figure. Last summer, Clinton campaign spokesperson Howard Wolfson told the New York Times that, “Even though President and Senator Clinton are public figures, their daughter is not.” That’s legally implausible and an impossible stance in the face of Chelsea’s consistent presence on the campaign trail. — Guy Branum, Slate

Why conservatives should stop bitching and choose McCain. Neither John McCain nor anyone in his campaign asked me to write this column. But I cannot sit silently while my fellow conservatives do to John McCain what GOP “moderates” did to me. Today the stakes for our country are far higher, and the implications for the future are far greater than who sits in one of 100 U.S. Senate seats. Now our nation is at war against a vicious foe. We need a president who has proved how to win it … In the dark days when Iraq’s Anbar province was the bloodiest place on the planet, John McCain was one of the few in Congress brave enough to venture into that cauldron. I know because I saw him there. During those trips, he listened to bright, brave young Americans wearing flak jackets and flight suits and became a steadfast supporter of a winning strategy for ending this long and costly conflict. But the senator’s commitment goes far beyond political rhetoric. One of his sons is a student at our alma mater; the other is a Marine Corps lance corporal serving in harm’s way. — Oliver North, RealClearPolitics

McCain must step up, but not by moving to the right. John McCain is going to have to take his campaign up a notch. But, contrary to what some think, he doesn’t have to do that to win over the far right of his party. The far right of his party hasn’t gotten the candidate it has wanted since Ronald Reagan. What Republican power broker Ken Duberstein called the “radio talk show” wing of the party in this space last week certainly did not want George W. Bush as the nominee when he first ran in 2000. Bush refused to endorse a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and many on the far right preferred Gary Bauer (who ended up endorsing John McCain that year, because Bauer didn’t much like Bush, either). — Roger Simon, Politico

Huckabee = thorn in McCain’s side, but not a contender. Mr Huckabee’s charm and homespun wisdom has endeared him to the Republican rank and file. He never disparages Mr McCain, and enthusiastic volunteers rather than paid staff run his campaign. Although he has no hope of winning he intends to stay in the race to keep pressure on Mr McCain to embrace a more socially conservative agenda. For all the grassroots enthusiasm to put a creationist in the White House, Mr Huckabee is not loved by the party’s high command. His efforts to be named as Mr McCain’s choice for the vice-presidential slot have been firmly rebuffed. His weak grasp of foreign policy, his much-derided plans to scrap the Internal Revenue Service and his extreme positions on social issues in effect rule him out. — Leonard Doyle, Independent

Hot or Not? If the electoral system is just too complicated for you, here’s a simpler way to choose a candidate. — Salon 

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey