Last night, Mitt Romney won Arizona by 21 points and his home state of Michigan by 3. We all had our fun trying to figure out ways he could end up losing this thing, but it’s time for us in the reality-based community to stop pretending: Mitt Romney will be the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate.
I am as guilty of anyone at performing the mental gymnastics that were required to somehow turn Newt “love ’em and leave ’em” Gingrich or the Frothy One into plausible winners of the nomination, but after last night, anyone peddling a horse race at this stage probably has stock in the track.
That Santorum was able to lose Michigan to a guy who argued for letting Detroit go bankrupt is just testament to his awfulness as a candidate. Attacking JFK over separation of church and state? Contraception is not okay? All Santorum had to do was to keep pounding the message that he delivered in his Iowa victory speech and he could have won easily. But, like Bono said, he has political Tourette’s.
This isn’t to say that Romney is a good candidate. He’s not. He’s terrible. But he does have the money and the organization and he will win this thing.
Case in point: in Ohio, where Santorum currently has a sizable lead over Romney in the polls, Santorum hasn’t bothered to secure delegates in three of the districts. So even if he wins Ohio, there are 9 of the 66 total delegates that are completely off the table for him.
Want more? Okay, how’s this: go try to find how Santorum is doing in polls in Virginia. Can you find any polls that include Santorum? That’s not a rhetorical question; I honestly don’t know, because I don’t care. And the reason I don’t care is because Santorum didn’t bother to collect the signatures necessary to get on the ballot in Virginia. Romney will win that state.
Santorum is running a pretty good amateur campaign, but the key word is amateur. Romney is running a terrible professional campaign, and will win.
So if you tune into your favorite cable news station and they are earnestly talking about how important Super Tuesday is, or Mini Super Tuesday, or Not Quite Super Tuesday, or whatever, they aren’t talking about importance to the candidates and their chances of securing the nomination; they’re talking about how important those days could be to their ratings.
Now, having said all that, is it possible that Mitt Romney could still lose this? Sure. Nothing is settled until it’s all over. But is it likely? No. At all? No. Intrade currently has Romney trading at 83% to win the nomination and I think that’s low.
I’m willing to listen to scenarios where Romney loses the nomination, but at this point, in my mind, the burden of proof has shifted. You need to show some pretty compelling evidence for me to even consider it.
Those of us who call ourselves “liberals” or “progressives” or just “not crazy” need to face the reality that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich nor even Ron Paul is going to save us from the hard work required to keep a sane, competent, and pragmatic president in the White House. The opponent will be Romney. The election will probably be much closer than it should be. We need to get to work.