- It should mean that Newt Gingrich is out. He's enough of an egotist that he might want to stick in there for a while longer, but there is no way he can win and I assume he realizes that.
- Mitt Romney hasn't clinched the deal yet by any means. Some people argue that a Mormon can't win in the South, but not that long ago many of the same people argued that a Catholic can't win in the South, either. In my experience, southerners are a little more (ahem) nuanced in their thinking than they get credit for, especially among northerners. We all have our biases; some biases are more socially acceptable at cocktail parties. Northerners, especially northern liberals, prefer to ignore their biases, but that doesn't mean the biases aren't present. All other things being equal, a southern conservative might prefer a Catholic candidate to a Mormon candidate, but in this instance I think the difference is that Santorum is a lot closer to social conservative issues than Romney is. And if Romney eventually wins the nomination, the notion that conservative southerners would not vote for him is ludicrous, especially given the alternative.
- Since the general election is going to turn on economic issues, Romney still has a better chance of winning the GOP nomination, and the election, than Santorum does. Although I would say this -- if this gets to be essentially a two-man race, Romney could be in trouble.
- Santorum has turned out to be a much better candidate than I ever thought was possible. About my only exposure to him in the past was occasionally hearing him as a guest host on Bill Bennett's morning radio show. He was terrible at it, so I assumed he wouldn't be able to connect with voters out on the hustings. That has not turned out to be the case.
- Ron Paul will keep plugging along, because it's about all he has to do at this point. He'll keep collecting delegates here and there and will eventually extract something from the nominee. To my mind, that's a good thing, because the issues he raises need to be part of the conversation.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Rick Santorum wins Alabama and Mississippi. What does it mean?