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Romney will win—but he’ll have paid a heavy price


 

It may not have amounted to Mitt Romney’s best case scenario for Super Tuesday, but winning a clear majority of delegates and a close race in the battleground state of Ohio, is near enough. Rick Santorum showed staying power with impressive victories in Tennessee and Oklahoma. Newt Gringrich tried to bask in the sunlight, but winning his home state is just a consolation prize. The race will last longer because there was no knockout blow, but at the end of the day, Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.

So why are Santorum and Gingrich staying in the race? The primary rules this year work against declaring an early victor. There are very few “winner take all” states, with most opting for a proportional allocation of delegates. Romney will keep building his lead—but it’s going to happen more slowly than it would have in previous years. Another reason is the role of Super PACs, which allow rich benefactors to keep a doomed candidacy going. Finally, both Santorum and Gingrich see themselves as the only true conservatives; to them, Romney an impostor that needs to be checked and followed. This alone is enough to keep them in the race.

Though anti-Romney candidates will ultimately fall short of stopping him, these same hard line conservatives will nonetheless play a big role in crafting the Republican platform at this summer’s convention in Tampa. A harsher, more radical right-wing platform is all but assured as a result. Had Romney won earlier, it probably could have been a more moderate, thereby increasing Romney’s appeal to independent voters in November 2012. But Romney’s inability to close the deal has allowed rival factions to coalesce around niche issues.

A longer race certainly provides great theatre and fodder for the media. But how many truly believe this contest has strengthened the Republican cause? The economy will in all likelihood remain the determining factor in Obama’s reelection campaign. Still, a prolonged Republican race leading to a more ideological and doctrinaire platform can only help the him build his case for a second term.


 

Romney will win—but he’ll have paid a heavy price

  1. One other question: why us Ron Paul still in it?

    I believe he knows he cannot win, but has his sights on something else.  He wants to go to the convention with enough delegates to be able to make a deal with either Romney or Santorum.  He will offer to drop out and ask his delegates to vote for one of them if he will promise to try to pass certain Libertarian policies if he wins the election.

    • He had no chance of winning in 2008 either, but stuck it out till the end. Sure, he’d like to have some influence in the convention, but that isn’t going to happen. He is building a movement – an infrastructure. This year he, on average, doubled his levels of support from 2008. When Rand runs, and he will, he can tap into that same infrastructure. Rand is better at sounding like a regular Republican, and where he diverges, at least his divergences will be that much more familiar to the Republican electorate.

  2.  The party continues to talk of reuniting and backing the winner, but I wonder after all that has been said and done, whether they can really do this credibly. They should also consider the damage that is being done- how much further will they alienate female voters with the likes of Rick and Newt ( and  so many more Republican men who feel it is their duty to legislate women’s bodies) ?

  3. Barack Obama could slaughter a kitten on live television while singing the Horst Wessel Lied, and Parisella would write an article about how Obama is making inroads among Nazi dog-lovers. Lets ask a simple, empirically testable question: can losing candidates influence a party’s platform, when the frontrunner has a majority of the delegates?

    Lets look at contest where the losers still won a fair number of delegates:
    How much influence did Clinton have on Obama’s platform (while Obama did change his mind on mandates that happened after the election)?
    How much influence did Tsongas and Brown have on Clinton’s platform?
    How much influence did Jesse Jackson have on Michael Dukakis’ platform?
    How much infuence did Gary Hart have on Walter Mondale’s platform?
    How much influence did Ted Kennedy have on Jimmy Carter’s platform (in 1980)?
    How much influence did Reagan have on Ford’s platform?
    How much influence did Humphrey and Wallace have on McGovern’s platform?

    Can anybody name a single policy that was changed at the convention, as a result of a serious push by the losing candidates?

    The reality is that Romney is decisively winning a primary despite rules that have prolonged its duration (Republican elites, observing the excitement in 2008, preferenced proportional races, believing that the interest in the Obama-Clinton race was a result of its duration, not the battle between the prospective first black president and first woman president). And he has done so with out making many explicit policy commitments that will haunt him in the general election.

    Rather than run on the issues, Romney has run on his biography. Rather than run from Romneycare, he’s managed to obfuscate the issue (look at the exit polls in Massachusetts – Republicans dislike Romneycare, but also don’t care about it). Rather than release a detailed platform, Romney has released a 50-point plan consisting of 50 declarations of “something must be done!” This is a classic consultant move – make vague promises so you have a free hand later. If you think Romney can’t game the convention – with the clear majority of delegates he will have – then you really haven’t been paying attention to this race.

    • Just as bad as Parisella . You are too Romney . Face it , he is not a real conservative.

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