Another round of primaries, another game of expectations. Trying to figure what victory means, seems to depend on the source, or the respective campaign's spin. I thought I would offer what I think are legitimate scenarios, which would rightfully allow either side to crow.
"Victory" for Obama:
Aside from the obvious, he's "already won" argument, Obama needs to show something tonight. I would argue that a double digit win in North Carolina is an absolute necessity, given the demographics, given where we were just two weeks ago (Obama leading by 20 plus according to some). If Obama manages a rout in North Carolina, then he really only needs a razor thin loss (2 points)in Indiana to claim overall victory. If, however, Clinton were to win by a larger margin in Indiana, North Carolina is negated, and if anything, Indiana would be viewed as the more representative fight, because both campaigns have built-in advantages.
The other scenario for victory is pretty self-evident. A win in Indiana, no matter the margin, accompanied by a win in North Carolina, no matter the margin, translates to complete success, Clinton is effectively done, pressure will mount on her to concede, superdelegates will flock to Obama in droves.
"Victory" for Clinton:
Anything less than a win in Indiana, see above. Clinton doesn't have to win big in Indiana, it is the "tiebreaker" after all, but she made need more than a squeaker, if she is blown out in North Carolina. Lose North Carolina by less than double digits, and any victory is good in Indiana. Make it respectable in North Carolina, carry whites by a noticeable margin, coupled with a convincing win in Indiana, that is the best case scenario for her, she lives on, questions remain about Obama, West Virgina looms next (she leads by 30 plus), superdelegates probably stay on the sidelines.
If Clinton were to win both, which she won't, then Obama is mortally wounded, he will never recover.
The likely scenario here, neither campaign does what it needs for a clear "victory", much will be left for interpretation. Columnists with a soft spot for Obama will re-introduce the horrible math for Clinton, the Clinton leaning view will ask why Obama struggles, the annointed one and all.
Should be a fascinating night.