When and how Rick Santorum exits the race make for the only real suspense in the GOP presidential race. Songster doesn’t think this is happening any time soon, writing in part:
With Santorum winning Louisiana, it will give him another false boost, possibly financially, possibly in the polls, but mostly in his head. He has become so self-important, so smugly proud that he has made it this far in the race, while being totally unaware that he is merely the repository for residual anti-Romney sentiment. Shooting off his mouth on anything and everything, he seems think that whatever he’s doing or saying must be what God wanted him to do or say. Waste time in Puerto Rico? We just don’t understand His wisdom. Stray off message so often that there isn’t one anymore? It is all the satanic media’s fault. Win a few delegates in LA? God has begun to turn the tide. . . . Santorum’s only argument lately is that ‘only a true conservative can beat Obama’. By this he seems to mean, ‘only a far-right candidate.’ I’m not sure in what political reality this would be true, since the battleground in presidential elections is in the middle and not on the wings.
DavidHolmes1 thinks he will exit “when his (or, more realistically, his financial backers’) money runs out. Until then, as with most politicians, hope and ego will keep him in the game.”
However, some others predict a quicker end. Several suggest that will come after the next batch of primaries. Statistquo argues: “The winner take all primaries on April 3rd should do the trick. Romney will sweep Wisconsin, Maryland and D.C. and will have a prohibitive lead in the delegate count. As disastrous as it would be for Santorum on the 3rd, April 24th would become a full scale rout, including N.Y., DE, RI and CT. This would be exacerbated by the humiliating possibility of losing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the second time in six years. He’ll have to find a face-saving way to bow out before the 24th, given his Romney = Obama gaffe, but a dignified concession, will be his only recourse after April 3rd.”
I do think it comes down to whether Santorum risks losing in his home state. No politician wants to be humiliated, and a second loss in his home state for Santorum would be both devastating on a personal level and likely damaging to any future presidential prospects he has. The key, then, is to see if the Pennsylvania polls narrow. If so, look for Santorum to decide swiftly to take one for the team and drop out. If not, he’ll likely leave right after that race, in essence losing the primary (after other April 24 losses) but partially erasing the memory of the devastating 2006 loss.