The French don't do things our way (perhaps you knew?). When it comes to elections they don't have a nice, dignified, orderly (heh!) primary followed by a nice, dignified general. They have a first-round free-for-all followed by a runoff, It can be confusing: they're still pegging the socialist Francois Hollande as the ultimate winner here, even though there is some reason to believe he might actually trail in the first round (and there's a surge for a candidate on his left flank, showcased in a rally at the Bastille just yesterday, which could upset things).
But still, it set me to thinking: what if Barack Obama had had to run in all those primaries over the last few weeks, along with the likes of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann et al.? Can we imagine a scenario in which he would have been knocked off in an early round, leaving it for, say, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney to slug it out in the true finals?