Tonight

I'll be live-blogging the results from Indiana and North Carolina. Here's what I fear: regardless of who wins or loses and by what margin, race will emerge as a core issue. I sure hope not. But what Obama has been subjected to is a classic pincer movement: the Clintons have attacked from the right, subtly and not-so-subtly framing Obama's candidacy as a racial one, and evoking Bill's own Bubba identity and Hillary's totally fabricated working class white credentials. And Jeremiah Wright has attacked from the left: desperate for attention, alternately demonizing Obama for selling out and projecting his own clownish-left sensibility onto the first serious black contender for the presidency. Wright has given white voters permission - and an alibi - not to vote for Obama on racial grounds. The Clintons have given the same voters a Fox News-approved, Rove-blessed alternative to racial transcendence.

Of course, many voters will not have their decision affected by this racial side-show. But some will. Quite how many we will find out. I just hope the last few weeks have not resulted in too stark a racial polarization. It's bad for the country, for Obama, for the Clintons ... and for the future.