Romney Wins Illinois

Mitt Romney has won a resounding victory in Illinois and moved much closer to winning the Republican nomination, this time even winning a significant chunk of the Evangelical Christian and Tea Party voters who would normally have gone to Santorum or the increasingly-fading Gingrich.

It remains my opinion that Santorum’s best shot (and it’s an increasingly long one) is to have Gingrich quit the race and endorse him. This would effectively give Santorum most of Gingrich’s delegates and erode Romney’s lead in upcoming battles. Gingrich does not look to be so-inclined, and may himself be playing “spoiler” to Santorum and angling for the VP slot.

Patrick Edaburn has an extensive news and commentary roundup. My only quibble with Edaburn is that he suggests Romney’s competitors aren’t getting out of the race because they’re “idiots.” I don’t think so. Unless one of Romney’s competitors gets a valuable offer of some sort from Romney, at this point it would be foolish for either Santorum or Gingrich to quit. There are numerous reasons. Here are some:

1) It lays the groundwork for future Presidential campaigns. To give just one example, in 1976 Ronald Reagan continued his quest for the Republican nomination all the way to the convention long after he had mathematically lost against Gerald Ford. He took some heat and ridicule for it, but look what it got him four short years later.

2) The more delegates a candidate arrives with at at the convention, the more respect he’s going to be given, the more role he’s likely to have on the party platform, and the more prominent a speaking role he’ll get to address the convention (and, as a result, the nation).

3) If you covet a job such as Vice President, or some cabinet post, your best way to do that is to have a substantial number of delegates at the convention that you can pledge to whoever wins.

4) Just like football, a team with an enormous advantage can lose everything due to a critical injury or fumble. While they are all unlikely, I can easily think of several scenarios (including dreadful ones involving airplane crashes, sudden illnesses, scandals, or even–horrible but it’s happened–assassins) which completely changes the race in the blink of an eye.

It seems likely that this is going to remain a four-man contest all the way to the convention, because the remaining candidates have more to gain by staying in than getting out right now.

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  • ArnoldHarris

    Pretty good analysis. It was only 44 years ago that a Palestine Arab terrorist shot Robert F Kennedy dead in the back kitchen of the restaurant where he made one of his campaign stops, thus all but assuring Richard Nixon would beat the weak liberal Democrat candidate, Senator McGovern.

    But as for the Santorum, Gingrich and Paul hanging tough against all odds in the campaign, for purposes of bid for positions in a possible Romney administration, it’s obvious there is only one Office of the Vice President of the United States, and three men cannot occupy it simultaneously. Of the three, the best choice for that job could well be Governor Mike Huckabee. His economic conservatism is at least as strong as Romney’s, and his social conservatism, while not as obnoxious as that which Santorum so strongly displayed recently, would still pull in all kinds of southern conservative votes.

    But the only thing that counts in the next three months before summer is the delegate count, and Governor Romney may well have his 1144 delegates in the next 90 days or so. In any case, he is the man whom the Republican leadership wants, irrespective of the Tea Party folks. Because it most voters seriously doubt that Senator Santorum ever could defeat an incumbent Democrat president.

    Romney has run one of the most carefully planned presidential campaigns in my memory, and nobody can deny that it is not paying off.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  • Dean Esmay

    Mike Huckabee would be an exceptionally good choice for Romney. He is the only person I can think of (save perhaps Condoleezza Rice, who has emphatically and forcefully stated that she has no interest whatsoever) who could draw significant votes toward Romney. The most important job for a running mate is to do no harm to the top of the ticket, however, Huckabee would actually enhance the ticket. Romney would almost certainly shoot up in the polls from Huckabee’s presence alone.

    That said, it appears highly unlikely because Huckabee has just started a major syndicated radio program. There is no plausible scenario I can see for him keeping that show and being Romney’s running-mate, so it would require him to betray backers of this show that is only in its infancy.

  • ArnoldHarris

    Well, so much for Mike Huckabee. He probably has a lot more to gain than to lose with that radio program. What he has to say, in addition to the way Mike can say it, would put his program head and shoulders above most of the other conservative radio talk shows. (Yes, I am thinking specifically about Rush Limbaugh, who comes across as a windbag who allows his call-in guests almost no time to talk before he interrupts them.)

    Allen Simpson of Wyoming would be a fine Republican vice president. Maybe Newt Gingrich as well. Both these men can debate rings around Joe Biden. And in case anyone has forgotten, the VP debates are the key events of what the two vice presidential candidates do in any national election.

    Santorum? Forget it. You wouldn’t want that jerk a heart beat away from the presidency, and neither would I.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI