My prediction is that Edwards will win the Democratic primary, by virtue of having less baggage, being a Southern candidate, and being good looking than all the other Democrats.
I’m not confident that he’ll win against Bush. I think he’ll do great in the debates: he’s a lawyer used to arguing in front of juries, and he knows how to play to a crowd. Bush will pound him for inexperience, and if Edwards can sidestep that blow successfully, he’ll win the debates.
If he takes care to differentiate himself early on from Bush, showing that he stands for liberal values, then he’ll face no significant challenge from a third-party left, and Bush will move farther to the left to pursue the Soccer-Mom vote (or whatever we’ll be calling it in 2004). Bush might then face a substantive challenge from Buchanan on the right.
So I’ll be optimistic, and put the final totals at Edwards 49%, Bush 48%, Buchanan 1%, other candidates making up the loose change.