Governor Mitt Romney of MA

Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee

As we get into April and many primaries become winner take all, it’s going to be easier for Mitt Romney to put distance between himself and Rick Santorum.  The carrot for Santorum is the fact that the month of May could hold some big wins for him – including Texas – but he might be in too big of a hole by them.  Currently, Romney leads 655 to 278.  He’s expected to win decisively in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Rhode Island. 

There’s also the key battle in the Keystone State on the 24th.  If Romney wins Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania, it’s going to be hard to hold out much hope for Santorum.  Honestly, at this point, it’s a question of whether Romney can get to 1144 delegates.  Santorum doesn’t really have a shot at 1144, but if Romney can’t reach the number, a brokered convention could decide the nomination – incentive for Romney to keep the pedal to the metal.

Is Santorum focusing more on 2016 than 2012 at this point?  That’s a definite possibility.  His harsh anti-Romney rhetoric scores points with his own fans, but comments such as the one comparing Romney to Obama can only serve to hurt Romney in the general election.  A candidate in a primary really has two goals.  The first goal is to ensure that their party wins in the general election.  The second goal – a lesser goal, in my mind – is to get themselves elected to be the standard bearer for the party.  Is Rick Santorum handing votes to Barack Obama every day that he stays in the Republican race?  Probably.

The other candidates in the GOP field have really fallen to the side and at this point are really just serving as a spoiler for Santorum.

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has funneled millions of dollars into the Gingrich campaign through Gingrich’s SuperPAC, is putting his checkbook back in his pocket.  At some point, you stop throwing good money after bad.  With his campaign in the red, Gingrich has begun charging $50 per pose for photo ops with supporters.  Yes, $50 for a photo with a guy who finished third in the 2012 Republican primary.  I think Gingrich has the whole concept of “buying votes” a bit backward. 

Is Ron Paul being cheated?

And then there’s Ron Paul.  Paul’s campaign really sheds light on the fact that there are two dimensions to a candidate’s popularity.  The first is the size of the following, and the second is the intensity of their support for the candidate.  Paul is off the charts in terms of average intensity.  The only problem is that all votes count the same – a fervent supporter’s vote doesn’t count any more than a tepid supporters.  A vote is a vote.

Rumors of a third party run are swirling again, but I really don’t see how this is a viable option.  How, exactly, would Paul get enough votes to be viable in the general election?  He’s running fourth in the Republican field, and it’s not likely that he would peel off many liberal votes from the Obama camp.

I’ve also seen some folks in the tinfoil hat brigade allege vote fixing in the primary, pointing to “huge” Ron Paul crowds and saying this with such huge crowds, his vote counts should be higher than the official tallies – so someone must be fixing the numbers.

Recent “evidence” of this is a recent Paul rally in Los Angeles.  His supporters show images of a packed house and allege that there were 10,000 in attendance.  Well, the facility in question (UCLA’s tennis center) has a max capacity of 6,000.  Even if the 10,000 number is accurate, look at this number in context.  The LA metro area has about 12.8 million people.  That would mean that one out of every 1280 people in the LA metro showed up to the event.

Fervent supporters, Paul has.  He just doesn’t have enough of the “grunt” variety who quietly cast votes.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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