GOP enters the Santorum quagmire as a brokered convention looms

With former Pennsylvanian Sentor winning a clean sweep of three state contests last night in the race to be the Republican nominee to be President, it appears the GOP has a real problem. A brokered convention looms.

 

With former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum winning a clean sweep of three state contests last night in the race to be the Republican nominee to be President, it appears the GOP has a real problem. 

Although it is almost certain that frontrunner Mitt Romney, with huge advantages of money and organisation over his three main rivals, will have the most delegates at the Republican convention in Florida in August, he may not have a majority.

It appears that two of the U.S.’s four major regions, just don’t like Romney. Last month, Newt Gingrinch won a dramatic victory in South Carolina in the South, 40 per cent to 28 per cent.

Meanwhile Romney won the diverse state of Florida, but in its the northern panhandle, much more representative of the South as a whole, swung decisively behind Gingrich. 

Romney was meant to be strong in the Midwest, where his father was the governor of Michigan, but last night Minnesota (where Romney came third on 17 per cent) and Missouri (where he came second on 25 per cent) voted for Santorum. Beyond there, Santorum won in Colorado (40 per cent to Romneys 35 per cent), whose large Mormon population was expected to be a crucial factor in a Romney victory.

If the former Massachusetts governor fails to win a majority of delegates, the potential nightmare of a ‘brokered convention’ looms. Candidates try to cut deals on the floor of what is usually a coronation, or – as a last resort – a new candidate has to be selected.

Psephological whizz Nate Silver over at the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight  blog decribed just how much difficulty Romney is in:

“Mr. Romney has had deep problems so far with the Republican base, going 1-for-4 in caucus states where turnout is dominated by highly conservative voters.

“Mr. Romney is 0-for-3 so far in the Midwest, a region that is often decisive in the general election.”

“He had tepid support among major blocks of Republican voters like evangelicals and Tea Party supporters, those voters making under $50,000 per year, and those in rural areas. Instead, much of his support has come from the wealthy areas that Charles Murray calls Super ZIPs — few of which are in swing states in the general election.”

Silver goes on to compare the characteristics of the race to the Republican battle of 1976 and the Democrat contest of 1984, which both produced losing candidates.

The Washington Post points to how bad the Colorado result was for Romney:

“Mitt Romney took the state with 60 percent of the vote in 2008 — two days before ending his presidential bid. He chose to hold his results-watching rally in Denver, a sign of confidence, but he wound up delivering his remarks to the crowd long before most of the results rolled in.”

On the conservative National Review’s blog, the Corner, election expert Larry Sabato confirms the grim spring facing the frontrunner:

“The big picture view is simple. Much like McCain in ’08, Romney will continue to struggle to consolidate his position, even after it has become obvious that he is the only candidate with the national organization to grind out the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination and face President Obama in the fall.

“Romney is going to have to find new ways to strengthen his candidacy beyond simply unloading negative ads. A good campaign to study would be Bill Clinton’s in 1992.

“The parallels aren’t precise but there are some lessons nonetheless. If Romney can’t learn them, he’s going to have a long, difficult spring full of intermittent defeats and rampant speculation that the convention will have to turn away from all four of the current candidates to produce a fall winner.”

See also:

• Romney bizzarely pleased that Donald Trump has endorsed him –Alex Hern, February 3rd 2012

• The World Outside Westminster – Oh, Carolina – Tom Rouse, January 22nd 2012

• Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire: Press round-up – Alex Hern, January 11th 2012

• Iowa 2012: Meet the candidates – Chris Tarquini, January 3rd 2012

• USA 2012: The conspiracy aimed at nailing Palin – Alex Hern, December 14th 2011

• Romney bizzarely pleased that Donald Trump has endorsed him –Alex Hern, February 3rd 2012

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