Politically speaking, what happens to the political landscape is Obama wins?
1. McCain will finish his current senate term, probably without much to show for it, and then retire.
2. Sarah Palin will go back to Alaska, fight with the legislature for the balance of her term, and not be re-elected. She may try for Ted Steven’s seat if he wins but has to leave office early, but there’s a 50/50 chance she’s done for.
3. Obama takes over the Democratic party and Hillary gets no more chances to be President. She can’t challenge him in 12 and is pushing “too old” by 16.
4. Biden will serve one term and Obama will pick a replacement heir-apparent for the 2012 election.
5. The governors of Illinois and Delaware will pick the replacements of Obama and Biden (assuming Biden also wins his Senate seat). Since both are Democrats, no net change in the senate makeup.
As unpalitable as it is, an Obama win keeps Hillary out of the White House for good, lets the Republican party refocus – Huckabee is poised to emerge as the emotional leader and conservative soul, especially with his own talk show. Obama will face tough challenges and will not be able to deliver on half he’s promised.
Unless McCain wins in 2008 and Palin becomes the defacto successor, it’s unlikely she’s got the horsepower to emerge as a contender for the 2012 presidential race, though many will suggest it. She’s too damaged. Even if McCain wins, it’s not clear whether she can survive the Alaska allegations long enough to finish her first term as VP.
Looking to the future, the Republican’s best chance to win in 2012 is for Obama to win in 2008.