The hope of John Edwards pushing forward, all the way to the convention, ends today. Edwards is scheduled to drop out of the presidential race at 1 pm this afternoon in New Orleans, where he'll also be speaking about poverty, an issue that animated his 2008 campaign from the beginning.
His departure is a sad moment, not least because Edwards' policies on health care, inequality, education, and so much more have framed this race, setting the progressive standard for his better-funded, media darling competitors. Hillary Clinton began her run imagining Edwards as her chief rival, and therein lay so much of his power: He alone had the ability, early in the primary, to define what it meant to challenge Clinton from the left.
And we'll miss Elizabeth Edwards' place on the national stage. The whole country was riveted by the story of the husband and wife team who chose together not to give in to cancer, but to fight on in a campaign more defined by issues than most.
That's not to say the Edwards campaign wasn't flawed -- it was. Check out my piece from Monday, in which I speak to Edwards advisors and other experts on why his populism failed to catch on. I also discuss who Edwards voters are likely to flip to, and explain why, somewhat counter-intuitively, Clinton may have an edge.
That's the question sure to be on everyone's lips today.