The End of Inevitability?

After the shock of last night’s three Republican contests wore off a little bit today, I had a rather intense argument with a friend who happens to be a Romney supporter.  (In case you missed it:  Rick Santorum swept, winning Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri.)  The conversation started with him telling me “Romney didn’t win any states last night because he didn’t try.”  Or something like that.  His argument was basically that Romney could have competed–and won–any or all of the three states up for grabs last night, if he had wanted to, but he decided not to spend the money.

I told my friend, if Mitt Romney wants to be the Republican nominee, he had better be prepared to leave it all on the field.  We can’t have any of this “Well, I could’ve competed in [insert swing state], but I decided not to.”  If we have any chance of beating Obama, we must have a fighter; someone who will fight for every vote. (To those who say, ‘that would never happen,’ recall in 2008 when Romney pundit John McCain essentially conceded Michigan to Obama.)

My friend then rebutted by telling me Gingrich did the same thing, essentially punting on yesterday’s primaries.  The key difference is that Gingrich has nowhere near Romney’s resources, nor has he been marked ‘the inevitable candidate.’  Gingrich made a strategic decision to place his chips elsewhere in order to extend his campaign.  Romney could have easily competed in all three states and still had enough money to advance.  But he didn’t.  And he chose poorly.  Instead of Romney pulling away from the pack and advancing his ‘inevitability’ argument, Rick Santorum is the story, and Romney’s inevitability is fading.

Santorum beat Romney by nearly 30% in Minnesota, by the way–where Romney has been heralding support from the state’s former governor Tim Pawlenty.  He finished third, behind Ron Paul.

So do I think that Santorum is a legitimate threat to Romney?  Maybe.  Do I think Romney is beatable?  Absolutely.  Whether it is Santorum or Gingrich, it is clear that Romney can be defeated.  The question will be how long the field remains at four, and can one of these candidates overtake Romney once and for all with three Romney alternatives in the race?

The bottom line is this:  Romney is anything but inevitable and his supporters know it, otherwise they wouldn’t be spinning so hard in his favor.  That’s not to say he is not still formidable–Santorum is about to be absolutely assaulted with attack ads from Romney & his PAC–but he still has a long road to the nomination.  After getting trounced in South Carolina by Gingrich, Romney was starting to rebuild some steam, coming off key victories in Florida & Nevada.  But Santorum’s trifecta on Tuesday night has put the brakes on Romney’s train once again.

Romney just can’t seem to break away from the pack, and every time he loses a contest, his perceived destiny as the GOP nominee seems less likely.  Last night may have been the end of inevitability.

Nic Horton

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6 comments

  1. Dan

    I can’t decide if you neocons are just uneducated or if you actually want Romney to win the republican ticket. The fact is your kind has failed to mention Ron Paul on any given date regardless of his standing in these straw polls (and yes they are straw polls). Either you guys don’t want to understand the delegate process or you just want to live a fantasy that anyone other than Romney or much less likely Paul will win the ticket. Santorum and Gingrich have absolutely no chance. According to campaign insiders, like Doug Weade, Santorum isn’t on the ballot for 700 delegates. He was out of the running before it began and Gingrich was out for 564 delegates. So, you are left with a true constitutionalist (which you neocons absolutely detest because the republican party didn’t write the constitution) or a crony capitalist who will fall where ever the political winds tell him to. So, please stop feeding us these pipe dreams and get on board with reality so we can Obamney out of the way, because if he gets the ticket another big government liberal is guaranteed to win.

  2. Skip

    Any Man that would spend 20 million dollars to destroy another man is not Presidential material, It’s Santorums turn for Romney to try and destroy him with all his money and the backing of the Rino establishment. Romney is the republicans version of John Kerry a Rich guy with no soul.
    I like Ron Paul but thing’s just arent bad enough to make him winable.
    Newt Gingrich has some baggage but he also has what no other Candidate has, the Leadership and knowledge of the system and the willingness to work across the line as he did with Clinton to get this country back on track!

    • Dan

      Since very few seem to like doing their homework let me break it down for you. Only 113 delegates have been assigned to candidates, of these 113 romney has 73, ging 29, paul 8, sant 3. 158 have not been assigned yet, and Paul has the only grassroots campaign strong enough to attack these delegates. For instance in Colorado there are three districts where Paul straw polled 2nd or worse in these districts, but still 100% of those delegates (are unbound but) signed up for Paul. Indicators based on talking to delegates and not looking at “beauty pageant” straw polls have Paul in a distant second for delegate count. That doesn’t even include the fact Ging and Sant both have no ground game and couldn’t get on the ballot for some 25% of the delegates. So please, do your homework and get on board with Paul, he is the only alternative to Obama/Romney whether you like it or not. I personally love it. He is the only constitutional candidate and that isn’t even up for debate. If you like his policies then you like the constitution, if you don’t like his policies then you could be many things, but a constitutionalist is not one of them.

      • Skip

        Has nothing to do with doing my homework has everything to do, with Paul being able to get 50% +1 of the vote and thats not even up to debate because it hasnt happened yet, He does have a cult following of people like yourself, but his stand on drugs and foreign policy keep the main stream from voting for him its as simple as that, regardless if he is right or wrong on any of that, he has to have the VOTE. As I said I like Ron Paul and he is doing better now than last time he ran but, he isn’t in it to be president he is in it to promote his cause and he has stated that. There is no doubt that all the things he professes is true and if we don’t change those things we are screwed and some day soon people will look back and Say Dang we should have elected Ron Paul, but his failure to convey it in a way that doesnt sound nutty to most non thinking people is and will be his down fall and he knows it!

  3. Dan

    So you get that every one of Ron Paul’s positions is constitutional, but you claim that most people will see that as nutty? You realise the only people who think Ron Paul are nutty are those that don’t know why he stands where he does. Calling Ron Paul crazy is calling the constitution crazy and I certainly don’t see a majority of America doing that. His foreign policy is the foreign policy of the military. What is more crazy, taking advice from Fox and CNN on foreign policy or taking advice from active military? Don’t buy the media propaganda, I beg you! There is a reason Ron Paul supporters are hardcore, ask yourself why that is. Again, if your reason for not backing Paul is his lack of ability to get 50% of the delegates THEN WHY DO YOU SUPPORT GINGRICH! Do you really have more faith in CNN/Fox/straw polls than research?! Ron Paul is most likely in second place and he is the only other candidate on all the ballots with Romney. We both don’t want Romney, I love the constitutional candidate and you like him. Isn’t it time you accept the facts that Paul is our best shot to beat this Juggernaut called Romney? Our chances are slim, but you only have two choices. Either waste a vote on two candidates that CAN NOT win or vote on Paul or Romney.

  4. Skip

    Legalizing Heroin and Meth is why he wont even get close to being elected, he advocates that and whether its right or wrong the majority of the people in this world don’t think thats a good idea, if it were just Marijuana I don’t think many would be too opposed to that but thats just the way it is and you nor I can change that fact and saying eveyone else is just stupid but you and Ron Paul doesn’t help your argument, true or not! And trust me alot of people think he is nutty why else has he not won a single state? I personally am not among those that think he is a nut.

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