Florida Conservative

A Conservative Take on Florida and U.S. Politics

March Madness

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With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament winding down (heating up if you’re from Kentucky), perhaps it’s time to take a realistic look at the Republican primary battlefield and the realistic odds of former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) winning the nomination.  A recent article by Scott Conroy highlights the tightrope Sen. Santorum currently walks but misses some critical info.  Please, allow me to explain…

(1) “Almost no one expected Rick Santorum to get this far.”  Very true.

(2) “After all, the former Pennsylvania senator spent the first six months of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination as an under-funded, under-organized, and under-polling sideshow, someone who was discounted privately by his Republican rivals and the media alike.”  Also true.  The real question is “why?”  Sen. Santorum wasn’t drafted into the campaign by a passionate constituency (see Christie, Chris or Daniels, Mitch for additional information).  He simply wanted a shot at becoming President and probably figured the consolation prize of cashing in as the next Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin isn’t so bad (I guess).  Interestingly, there are only two reasons Sen. Santorum has any primary wins:  a vocal minority of Republicans who call themselves “social conservatives” (but also happen to be evangelical Christians) don’t like Romney and everyone else (Bachman, Perry, Cain, etc.) dropped out.  That’s narrative won’t make his memoir, but it’s still true.

(3) “But with 11 states now in the win column, Santorum has made Mitt Romney scrap for nearly all of his victories and surely has caused more than a few sleepless nights at the front-runner’s campaign headquarters in Boston.”  Wow.  That really makes it sound like Santorum is crushing Romney rather than eking out miniscule pluralities in states like Iowa and Mississippi.  If you look at the actual results, Santorum’s only solid victory over Romney was in Missiouri’s non-binding primary.  Ouch!  In New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, and Virginia (Santorum’s home state but where he didn’t qualify for the ballot), Romney won convincingly.

(4) 4th Quarter.  Down 57-26.  Four minutes remain.  Returning to the March Madness theme, should Santorum really be “fouling” a fellow Republican with so much at stake?  Or should a savvy politician throw his weight behind the nominee, develop a reputation as a peacemaker, and position himself for future public service.  If memory serves, that exact scenario happened a few years back.  While I’m not a huge Santorum fan (mostly because he hasn’t done a single thing worth braggin about), I still think that’s the smart move.  Taking the fight to the convention is a fool’s errand.

Although the media loves the word “inevitable” lately, Mitt Romney isn’t guaranteed the nomination.  However, the course ahead looks pretty favorable.  With 565 delegates so far, Romney has 49.4% of the 1,144 needed to secure the nomination.  The easiest way for Santorum to catch up would be to win the remaining seven winner-take-all primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland, DC, Delaware, California, New Jersey, and Utah.  To be honest, Santorum’s only real shot is Delaware and its paltry 17 delegates while Romney gets the other 360.  That means Romney only needs 219 of the 774 remaining delegates (28.3%).  I’m pretty sure former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Jim DeMint, Gov. Haley Barbour, and many others have done the math.  Expect to hear from more of the Republican leadership as the nomination fight wraps up by May 1st.

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Written by floridaconservative

March 27, 2012 at 1:30 PM

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