Barnes does well in explaining why the slow road to picking the Democratic nominee has taught us much we wouldn’t know otherwise about the two candidates. It has also may have provided the party leaders with a genuine role in selecting the nominee, if they chose to exercise it. This race has similarities to the last couple under the "mixed" nominating system (some delegates selected by primaries, others selected by party leaders in the states)--the Republican contest of 1964 and the Democrat one in 1968. In both of those cases, the June California primary was crucial. CA made the Goldwater nomination inevitable and, in my opinion, would have made Robert Kennedy’s nomination very likely [We’ll never know, of course]. I also remember CA in those days was decisive because it was winner-take-all. Under the Democrats’ current scheme of hyper-proportional representation, the close CA result in the Goldwater and Kennedy cases would have been utterly inconclusive.
2. Having said that, I really believe that the primaries/cacuses have ended up being conclusive this year for the Demos.
My bold prediction: The polls are more or less right. Clinton wins by 5 in IN and Obama by 8 in NC. Race over, for all practical purposes.