March 7, 2012

Edging Toward the Inevitable

Marc Comtois

Whether your response is excited, angered or tepid (ahem), Mitt Romney won 6 out of 10 primaries/caucuses last night, including the supposed bellweather, rust-belt state of Ohio. Though the latter was close, he still won it. Yet, as avowed Romney-supporter (some would say shill) Jennifer Rubin writes, you would think that Romney lost by winning (addendum--others have noted this too).

When all the nails were bitten in Ohio and all the votes counted from Massachusetts to Alaska, Mitt Romney had won six of 10 Super Tuesday contests (including all three of those states) and jumped to a commanding lead in the delegate count. Romney now leads with 415 delegates to 176 for Rick Santorum. Romney narrowly won Ohio, which before Tuesday was dubbed the must-win state for both him and Santorum, and picked up wins in every region of the country except the Deep South.

It is only in a media environment in which so many pundits are rooting for the pummeling to continue in the GOP could this be characterized as “failing to close the deal” or evidence of weakness by Romney. Unlike every other GOP nominating contest, the standard for this year appears to be that Romney should and must win virtually every state other than his opponents’ birthplaces.

She also points out that the 4 states that didn't go Romney's way--Georgia (Gingrich's home state), Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota--are all reliably Republican regardless of who wins the GOP nomination. So, yes, he squeaked it out in Ohio, but, like he did in Michigan, he won in a swing state that will be crucial in November.

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As I mentioned in the open thread below, anything other than a big win in Ohio for Santorum is a big win for Romney.

I think what we're seeing is what's important in each of these states. The Dakotas don't really see employment as the major issue, so they're glomming on to the conservative social side of Santorum. Elsewhere, the voters do see unemployment as the big issue, exactly what Romney has been harping on lately, so he's grabbing those votes.

Maybe Newt sticks around a few more days, but clearly it's time for Ron Paul to go.

Posted by: Patrick at March 7, 2012 9:12 AM

"[C]learly it's time for Ron Paul to go."

I don't think this is the right way to view Paul because he's not really running to win the nomination. He's running mainly to change the dialog and break up the vacuous neoconservative echochamber that has developed. By still running, he can continue to present the hard truths that the other candidates are afraid to touch (out of control military spending, etc.)

Posted by: Dan at March 7, 2012 9:40 AM

Dan, I don't think it's working, it's not resonating. If he's not working to win the nomination then he should step out and support the party. He's more than welcome to hold a press conference every hour of the day in every city if that's his goal.

One of his main points is that Washington is messed up and broken and needs to be fixed. The whole process is a mess. By staying in the race to make a few points, he's further messing up the process. If he wants to be President, make a go of it or get out. If he wants to be a protester, go protest to your heart's content.

Posted by: Patrick at March 7, 2012 12:38 PM

Until the electoral process changes, it still only comes down to a few states, although the census recalculation helps the GOP with solid blue losing (NY -2), (MI -1), (IL -1) and even the hard swing (PA -1), while solid red gaining (TX + 4) and likely red (AZ, UT, GA +1). Even the swing states edge GOP with FL (+2) and OH/IA losing.

The math favors Romney; he should stop trying to win Santorum or Gingrich voters -- they'll dislike the thought of another term for Obama more than a Romney Presidency. Save his money for FL, NC, VA, NM..holding MO, winning back IN and's only 7 or 8 states that matter in the end..

Posted by: Col at March 7, 2012 5:44 PM
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