“Winning Powerball two days in a row is probably easier than any of these scenarios,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
Added Steve Schmidt, who headed up day-to-day operations for GOP nominee John McCain four years ago: “A lot of this discussion evades reality.”
The discussion of a fresh Republican face was revived on the eve of the Michigan primary, as polls showed Mitt Romney in a tough fight for a state where his family has deep ties — and that will be important in the general election this fall. If Romney cannot easily win Michigan, the thinking goes, how will he ever manage to gain momentum in the string of large battlegrounds ahead?
Yet it is difficult to see how anyone entering the race this late would win. The arithmetic would not work for the most direct route to the nomination, which requires racking up the requisite majority of 1,144 delegates in the remaining primaries and caucuses.
If a candidate decided to enter the race after Super Tuesday on March 6, the filing deadlines will have passed in all but seven states.
Even if that person picked up every single delegate in those remaining primaries — highly unlikely, given that only New Jersey and Utah award theirs on a statewide winner-take-all basis — the newcomer would fall way short, with fewer than 400 delegates.
“It is simply too late,” said Josh Putnam, a Davidson College professor whose blog on the GOP primary intricacies has developed a following in Republican circles. “There’s a fantasy element of this whole process.”
Well, as long as we are going there: That still leaves the possibility of taking the fight to a brokered convention, which is something many people alive today have never seen.
Among the boosters of this scenario is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “We could be looking at a brokered convention,” she recently told Fox Business Network. “Months from now, if that’s the case, all bets are off as to who it will be, willing to offer up themselves up in their name in service to their country. I would do whatever I could to help.”
Another advocate is Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who told reporters at the National Governors Association convention over the weekend: “I just believe that we ought to go to the convention and pick a fresh face.”
The four-day infomercial that passes for a modern convention is a far cry from the suspenseful events of old, with their floor fights and fistfights, their multiple rounds of balloting, their fabled backrooms reeking of cigar smoke and bourbon.