Today’s Florida primary will play out inside the minds of two people in particular. The first is Newt Gingrich, who will imagine himself as some historic insurgent, maybe Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox of the American Revolution, who roamed South Carolina even after the Continental Army had been routed. Marion is the father of guerrilla warfare, a military innovator who knew how to live off the land. Surely, this is how the vainglorious Gingrich sees himself.
On the other hand, a different kind of thinking may be going through the mind of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vega gambling mogul who along with his wife has pumped $10 million into Gingrich’s campaign. This is a man who knows something about odds and the advantage the “house” has. In the Republican contest, Mitt Romney is the house. He’s got the money. He’s got the organization. The way things are supposed to work out, the house wins. It is only a matter of time. For Adelson, it may be time to close his window.
This is the end for Gingrich. He will come in second in Florida, no big deal actually. He will place ahead of Rick Santorum who, after all, runs only on the vapors of his own conviction, and Ron Paul, a man who addresses economic insecurities by citing the 10th Amendment. This field is not merely weak; it is just plain odd. Romney will steadily leave it behind. Gingrich will fight on for a while — waging guerrilla warfare on the Sunday shows — but this race is essentially over.