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Romney’s Good Night

I have a more hopeful take than some others, especially Jonathan, regarding the outcome of Super Tuesday. To be sure, Mitt Romney did not wrap it up. But he did very well, taking six of the ten states up for grabs. Crucially, he took Ohio, which was favorable territory for Rick Santorum, with a large rural and evangelical population. Romney had been down by double digits only two weeks ago, and he fought back to a victory. It was a narrow one, but, in this case, winning was what was important.

Even more important is the new delegate count. Romney now has 415, Santorum 176, Gingrich 105, Paul 47 (and drop-out Huntsman 2). 1144 are needed for the nomination. As Dick Morris pointed out on “Fox and Friends” this morning, for Santorum or Gingrich to eventually catch up and pass Romney, one of them will need to take two-thirds of the delegates yet to be selected, an almost impossible task unless Romney commits a really major mistake. Nothing if not cautious (and perhaps with his father’s infamous “brainwashing” gaffe firmly in mind) he is unlikely to do so.

This mathematical reality, I think, will begin to permeate through the Republican ranks in the next few days. And as Romney’s “political gravity” increases, more and more Republicans will flow into his camp. Belief in inevitability begets inevitability. More, everyone realizes the sooner the nomination is settled, the better for Republican chances in the fall. There will be more money left for the general campaign and more time for the party to heal any wounds (although I think the wounds have been greatly exaggerated). And winning in the fall, according to yesterday’s exit polls, is far and away the most important consideration for Republican voters, well more than two times as important as conservative purity.

Barring a major mistake or other unforeseeable development, I think Romney won the nomination last night.

 



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