Many readers think that Mitt Romney will win big tomorrow, as the polls suggest, and wrap up the nomination. Yahright puts it this way: “Mitt has the nomination double-bagged, locked in the trunk of his car, and his seat belt fastened for a bumpy, long and winding road ride home.” Smb1138 thinks Romney had this locked up long ago, writing in part:
Romney’s had this in the bag ever since Daniels/Ryan/Christie/et al. decided not to get into the race, and I think that most Republicans have long known this. They’ve flirted with various other “not-Mitt” candidates, but the flaws/severely limited appeal of these was always such that it was only a matter of time before their campaigns collapsed upon themselves.
Even if Newt does better in Florida than expected (and in recent days that’s been looking like a pretty big if), it’s still only a matter of time before he finally fizzles out, crushed beneath the weight of his ethical baggage and inability to avoid pseudo-intellectual bloviation.
Others think Rick Santorum still has a shot, but only if Gingrich gets out of the way. Eddiehaskill explains:
Romney will win Florida running away. The only question is , with Santorum turning in a fantastic debate performance, will he close the gap between himself and Gingrich. Santorum will only be able to challenge Romney if Gingrich drops out. Then the media focus that is sorely needed for Santorum will be on him. The ego driven Gingrich will only drop out if the money dries up, that will be a distinct possibility if the gap is wide between himself and Romney in Florida, as the gap narrows between himself and Santorum.
Romney and, to a lesser extent Gingrich, has assured Romney of a comfortable win on Tuesday. Santorum was so impressive on Thursday, he may have demonstrated that he is the last and best of the non Romneys. He has the grasp of the issues, self- assurance and demeanor to go the long haul, but his window of opportunity is quite narrow. Gingrich is Santorum’s biggest obstacle. Newt’s latest fizzled surge will not keep him from sucking out all the oxygen that Rick S could use, should Newt remain in the race.
So, if Newt hangs around and attracts the non Romney money, it will do the burned out Gingrich little good, while resulting in stealing the limelight from Santorum. (How many more debates will be just about Newt v Romney, as moderators focus on them and largely ignore Santo and Paul?) It is therefore, essential for Gingrich to get out Wednesday, or he’ll render Santorum a mere Romney debate sparring partner, and not a heavyweight contender at all.
Certainly an impressive Romney win in Florida going into stronghold states in February plus the degeneration of Gingrich’s campaign into a grievance therapy session suggest that Romney is the prohibitive favorite. It is remarkable that the conservative base hasn’t figured out that Santorum, not Gingrich, is its only chance to dislodge Romney.
What we do know is that the Gingrich set is concocting its excuse — some would say fantasy — as to why Gingrich turns out not to have a majority of the GOP electorate behind him. Blackwell575 channels the conspirators’ plot: “The establishment has disowned Gingrich and is trash talking and using money and influence against him.” Well, I’ve yet to figure out who is the “establishment” (Ann Coulter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, etc.?) and how they supposedly bamboozle so many Republicans. But in any case we will have about 2 million Republicans voting in Florida. They and the voters in other primaries and caucuses are the true “conspirators” in the scheme to deny Gingrich the nomination. Actually, the plot even has a name: Democracy.