Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's sweep of the South, including swing-state Florida, puts former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas in a defensive, must-win situation heading into next week's primaries in Illinois and Michigan. These upper Midwest states are neutral ground for both candidates, and as such have more significance than yesterday's much-touted Super Tuesday.
Nevertheless, the resilience and organization shown by Mr. Clinton were impressive enough to make him the undisputed front-runner for the first time in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Once again he displayed an ability to attract black, labor and lower-income voters, his party's traditional constituency. And once again Mr. Tsongas appealed to upscale, suburban voters while handily taking home-state Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island.
These results are sure to spur speculation about a Clinton-Tsongas ticket (the names no longer switched interchangeably) -- a prospect distasteful to many labor union leaders with a lot of clout in Michigan. Their tactic may well be to keep the nomination from being foreclosed before the national convention in July in the hope that delegates will spring free and nominate another candidate: Cuomo, Bentsen, Nunn, Gore, Bradley, etc.