Romney Set to Win Big in Florida
The (Republican) empire strikes back. The Republican establishment, shocked after
Newt Gingrich's win in South Carolina, put everything it had into defeating Gingrich
in Florida. It appears to have worked. There have been an endless series of polls there
in the past few days and Romney has clearly retaken the lead by about 8-10%. Anything
less than a Romney win in or close to double digits would be seen as an upset.
For a brief while after the South Carolina primary, Gingrich was ahead, but the massive
Romney attack machine, which outspent Gingrich by millions of dollars, coupled with numerous
endorsements from Republican leaders, have put Romney safely back in the lead. Gingrich, almost
conceding defeat today, has
to continue fighting until the convention. But candidates on the verge of a big loss always
say that to avoid making the loss even bigger. In actuality, candidates don't drop out because
they are losing in the polls or losing actual primaries. They drop out because campaigns
have become unbearably expensive and they are out of money.
But Gingrich is a special case.
He really hates Romney on account of the withering attacks he received from Romney-allied
superPACs in Iowa and might go on longer than usual just to annoy Romney.
Santorum Faces Easy Choice Tomorrow
Politicians are always talking about how they are the ones to make tough choices, but
tomorrow Rick Santorum has to make an easy choice. His 3-year-old daughter, Bella, was
with pneumonia last week, but her underlying disease,
trisomy 18, is nearly
always fatal. Only 8% of babies with it make it to their first birthday, so Bella has already
had a long life for someone with her condition. Santorum has made "family" the cornerstone of
his campaign. Tomorrow, after an expected dismal showing in Florida, he will have to decide whether
to continue his pointless campaign or stop it, to, in those famous words "spend more time
with my family." In Santorum's case, a decision to drop out tomorrow to spend more time with
his family would actually be true and would be a very graceful way out. When the history of
Campaign 2012 is written, it would then be said he dropped out because he felt his daughter's
life was more important than his political aspirations. That sounds much better than "he
dropped out because he had no money and the voters didn't like him." The real test of ambition
vs. family comes when a candidate who is leading is faced with a family crisis. For example,
Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney, has multiple sclerosis. Suppose, heaven forbid, her condition were to suddenly
deteriorate very badly. Would he drop his presidential quest to take care of her or would he hire a room full of nurses? Who knows?
But, hopefully, her condition will remain stable and he will not face such an agonizing choice.
If Santorum drops out tomorrow or within a few days, this will surely encourage Gingrich
to stay in and make it a one-on-one race against Romney for that piece of the Republican
world not part of Ron Paul's private universe. If most of Santorum's supporters go to Gingrich,
he could probably survive for a little while, but if they are torn between their hearts
(Gingrich is the only conservative) and their minds (Romney is going to win no matter what),
it might not help him much.
Prediction: Florida Will Win Today
No matter which candidate wins the Florida primary today, the real winner will be the
state of Florida itself.
It broke the Republican National Committee rules and moved its primary to January. Then to
add insult to injury, it made the primary a winner-take-all event, something
the RNC has forbidden states to do unless their primary or caucus is April 1 or later.
What was the punishment? Florida's delegates to the convention were cut in half. But unless
something even stranger than we have seen already happens, we are not going to have a brokered
convention with multiple ballots in which every delegate matters. The bottom line is that
Florida unilaterally made itself the focal point of the campaign, brought in lots of money
and attention, and got away with it unharmed. Needless to say, every other state except
Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina is going to think about doing the same thing in 2016.
The Iowa caucuses could be on Halloween 2015 in the next cycle, in part to stay ahead of
everyone else and in part because their predictive value is going to take a big hit after
Santorum's win this year.
Virtually everyone agrees that the method the United States uses to pick presidential
candidates is completely nutty, but (1) there is no agreement on what could replace the
system and (2) the states are all competing with each other to go as close to the start
as possible. One proposal often floated is a series of regional primaries and caucuses,
with, say, the Northeast voting in February, the South voting in March, the Midwest voting
in April, and the West voting in May the first year. In the following cycle, the South would
go first and the Northeast would go last, so over time each region would get a shot at
going first. That could be combined with allowing the four traditionally early states
(Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada) to vote in January. The one plus of letting
these small, unrepresentative states go first is that candidates without a lot of money
(like Rick Santorum) can still make a go of it by moving to Iowa or New Hampshire for a year.
If the first voting event required campaigning in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and
Maryland, only very well-financed candidates could possibly compete.
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Jan27 Romney Takes Off the Gloves in Final Florida Debate
Jan27 Romney Failed to List Foreign Investments on Legal Form
Jan25 Obama Lays Groundwork for a Populist Campaign in State-of-the-Union Speech
Jan24 Romney Releases 2010 Tax Return
Jan24 Role Reversal in the Debate: Romney Attacks, Gingrich Plays Defense
Jan24 Fred Thompson Endorses Newt Gingrich
Jan22 Gingrich Crushes Romney in South Carolina
Jan20 Perry Drops Out and Endorses Gingrich
Jan20 Gingrich Surging in South Carolina
Jan20 Gingrich's Second Wife Attacks Him
Jan20 Romney Loses His Win in Iowa
Jan20 Romney Reported to Have Millions of Dollars in the Cayman Islands
Jan20 The Final Four Take Off the Gloves in the Last Debate before the South Carolina Primary
Jan17 Hard-Hitting Debate in South Carolina Changes Nothing
Jan16 Huntsman Expected to Drop Out Today and Endorse Romney
Jan16 Why is the Republican Field So Weak?
Jan16 South Carolina Debate Tonight
Jan15 Social Conservatives Agree to Back Santorum
Jan13 Eleventh Commandment Repealed
Jan11 NH: Romney 39%, Paul 23%, Huntsman 17%, Gingrich 9%, Santorum 9%
Jan11 Charlie Cook: Redistricting is Politically Neutral
Jan10 Romney Leads Going into the New Hampshire Primary Today
Jan10 Gingrich Goes Negative in South Carolina
Jan08 Romney Survives Debate Unscathed
Jan08 Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
Jan05 Bachmann Drops Out
Jan05 Perry Hesitates, but Stays In
Jan05 Movement Conservatives Attempt to Find a Consensus Candidate
Jan04 Iowa: Romney 24.6%, Santorum 24.6%, Paul 21.4%, Gingrich 13.3%
Jan03 All Eyes on Iowa Today
Jan03 The Horse Race as a Horse Race
Jan01 Happy New Presidential Election Year
Jan01 Iowa Caucuses Are This Tuesday
Jan01 Final Selzer Poll: Romney and Paul on top but Santorum Rising
Dec16 No Fireworks in Final GOP Debate
Dec11 Romney Offers Perry a $10,000 Bet During Debate
Dec11 Where is Sarah Palin?
Dec11 The 2012 Contest: Whole Foods Clients vs. Cracker Barrel Shoppers
Dec07 Gingrich Way Ahead in Iowa
Dec07 Obama Gives Fiery Speech Attacking the Republicans
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