John Edwards is out.
Anyone who tells you they know how the eventual Edwards vote will pan out is full of it. Here is what Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report had to say:
"While one can plausibly argue that Edwards withdrawal may unite the anti-Clinton vote, one can also argue that Edwards overwhelmingly white block of supporters come loose and might behave much as other white Democrats have done in the contests after Iowa, not vote for Obama," Cook said. "I don't know which of those arguments will prevail."
In other words "I have no fucking clue."
I think what essentially does is raise the stakes for the next week or so of campaigning. All of a sudden, the universe of undecideds has expanded drastically and whoever makes the best case going into Feb. 5th (and possibly beyond) will probably win those votes. I say this because unless you are really into politics (as we are) you probably haven't completely gamed out who you will be for if your favorite candidate drops out, so it's going to take a bit for this all to sort out.
That said, Edwards really surprised me by dropping out. With his rhetoric, it really seemed like he was going to go to the convention, hoping that neither Hillary nor Obama would have a majority, and try to finagle that into the VP slot (or at least a decent parting gift). Given his demagoguery and astounding flexibility on the issues from one year to the next, I never imagined that Edwards would do anything less than take the most Machiavellian path possible.
But, against all odds, he has, and he ought to be congratulated for it. A Democratic nomination decided by John Edwards at the convention would be incredibly divisive and bad for the party, and Edwards has helped us avoid that today.