The first debate among the Democrats hoping to win their party's nomination for next year's presidential election has taken place in South Carolina. It's all a bit premature, seeing as it's a good ten months until the candidate will essentially be picked, and eighteen until the general election. So perhaps it's no surprise none of the eight contenders did or said much of note on the stage in Orangeburg.
That means it's still a three horse race. The two frontrunners remain Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton, like the pro-war Republican John McCain, is struggling a little because of Iraq. But as long as neither does anything silly between now and Christmas, both will still be firmly in contention when the primary elections begin early next year.
The third person in with a decent chance of victory is John Edwards. It's partly because his stint as John Kerry's running mate means people know who he is, and mostly because he's got bags of money courtesy of his fellow trial lawyers who are keeping his campaign going. None of the other five stand much chance of muscling their way into genuine contention without similarly large amounts of cash. And unless one of them finds some down the back of their sofa, this race is going to remain a three-cornered battle.