I did not expect Santorum to pull both Alabama and Mississippi. I expected Gingrich to do better. To be fair, these were not exactly dominating wins, and the difference between Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney can be described as negligible. But in the world of political momentum, that’s about as good as it gets. The only thing to dampen Santorum’s win is Romney’s sweep of Hawaii and American Samoa. Adding those in, the race is exactly where it was Tuesday morning with the exception that there are just that fewer delegates at stake.
What that really means is Romney won last night. As long as Santorum can’t play catch up, Romney wins.
So let’s talk moving forward and two things that I think are important:
Gingrich still apparently plans on pushing forward as does Paul. Both should drop out at this point, but neither will, which plays well for Romney. In Gingrich’s goal to beat Romney, he is actually helping.
The one caveat I’d throw out here is the possibility of a Santorum/Gingrich ticket. With their delegate counts combined, they still trail Romney, but not by much.
By the way, a combined Santorum/Gingrich ticket makes me want to vomit. And that leads to my next point.
I certainly did not think it would come to this point, but I think the likelihood of a brokered convention is significantly higher at this point. In fact, I’d label it probable.
And that isvery bad for the GOP. You simply cannot understate that.
In modern history, no candidate who emerged from a brokered convention won the election. The last one, for the GOP, left incumbent Ford as a weak candidate to Carter.
Brokered conventions cause too much disruption in the nomination process, take too much out of candidates, and often leave the opposing party with a clear and unopposed shot at getting and holding the national spotlight. Yes, conventions garner plenty of attentions, but that attention is more about the carnage and train-wreck-ness of it all, not the candidates themselves. In our modern media age, a brokered convention is one of the more damaging things that a party could inflict on itself.
And that’s the big problem. This is a self-inflicted wound caused by infighting, pettiness, and greed for power. Santorum still has a legitimate right to be in this race. He can mathematically catch Romney, though that is unlikely. Gingrich? Paul? Sorry…. Their presence at this point is damaging the national party; an unfortunate situation if only because it’ll likely lead to a power grab by the DNC come November.
Our nation was slowly moving back towards political balance, but a brokered convention will throw it all out of whack again, which is not healthy no matter who is in charge.