But for John McCain, who is now the front-runner, it was truly darkest before the light. It wasn't all that long ago that he was written-off as joke. No more.
He has proven he can win a closed Primary where only Republicans are allowed to vote. What is more, Florida is obviously a very big and diverse state -- so tonight's victory cannot in any way be diminished.
My guess is that tonight's victory for McCain will lead to two opposite results ...
1. Many conservatives who have hesitated to support McCain will now (all of a sudden) decide to endorse him. Some big-money Republicans who have been hedging their bets will now start writing checks to McCain. This is vitally important for McCain.
2. Many conservatives who have long-hated McCain will actually increase their attacks on him. Look for outside groups to begin running anti-McCain ads. Look for many prominent talk show hosts to put on the full-court press and promise that McCain's election will lead to Armageddon, or something ...
Ultimately, it is now up to John McCain to find a way to extend an olive branch to movement conservatives who, over the years, have had legitimate reasons to be suspicious of him.
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