Thursday, March 22, 2012

Romney's Victory in Illinois and the Future of Republican Nomination Process

Keywords or Terms: Mitt Romney; Rick Santorum; Newt Gingrich; 1144 Delegates; Republican Convention; Inconsistencies and Flip-flopping; PAC's, Motivating Factors; Tea Party; Republican Party; Reagan; and November 6th Contest.

For Republican Candidate Mitt Romney, three straight wins against his competitors, is a sure guarantee that his candidacy is speed bound for the November contest. The wins in Puerto Rico territory and Illinois State for Mitt Romney have been rather convincing to skeptics in the Republican Party. However, among his fellow aspirants, especially Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, the fight for the nomination is not over; and, the next contests, in Maryland, Wisconsin, Washington DC, Louisiana and Pennsylvania are the impending crossroad for all Republican candidates.

In a contest of distributed delegates based on vote count, claims for superior performance based on acquired number of delegates do not justify a call for other contestants to drop out of the race. Mitt Romney’s call for other Republican candidates to drop out of the current race for Republican nomination could at best be likened to political jiujutsu or strategy to unnerve opponents. The true nature of the delegates’ spread so far, may justify Romney’s claim as a front runner for the Republican Party nomination, but hardly denies other candidates the opportunity to remain in the race until, one of the aspirants reaches the 1144 delegates required for nomination as the party’s flag bearer, or personally chooses to drop out of the race. The current disdain from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich for the lop-sided spending of Romney’s PAC in many of the states already contested, may not solely be assigned to envy of Mitt Romney’s campaign's successes; rather, it may have to do with personal principle and conviction that they have something better to offer the party; and hence the nation, if given the opportunity to be the party’s flag bearer for the November contest.

What engages and or motivates support for any candidate in a field of contestants are never truly known in political canvasing. It could be for a number of reasons, which in some cases, are better described as hypothetical, since some of the reasons serve as Waterloo for other candidates in the race. In a field of contestants, the challenges are often to present a case for a biased position that any voter or supporter feels more attuned or comfortable with, given each voter’s circumstance and position on several issues. Interestingly, we have heard from exit polls in states and territories where primaries or caucuses have been completed, that a demographic group supporting a candidate in one state may reject the same candidate in another. For example, the demographic group supporting Rick Santorum in Alabama and Mississippi rejected him in Illinois. The same can be said of Mitt Romney, the demographic group of voters who found his message as representative of their position in Illinois, handily rejected him in Alabama and Mississippi; and if polls are to be believed, the upcoming primary in Louisiana may just be one for Rick Santorum to loose as he is far ahead of other aspirants in that state. In other words, the social conservative message of Rick Santorum resonates well with southern voters; while Mitt Romney’s self-reliance doctrine is welcomed by moderate Republicans in some Northeastern states.

What about the primaries or caucuses in Maryland, Wisconsin, Washington DC, South Dakota or Pennsylvania? Well, the competition is still on and no one can adequately say this is how the results in those states will turn out. Essentially, these are realities that pose challenges for all Republican aspirants, as each one has to earn his stripes to carry the state or caucuses that are in play. Just as Romney’s campaign advisers and strategists are as concerned with the potential loss of contests in subsequently completed primaries and or caucus, so are the campaign advisers and strategists for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. To effectively assess support for any candidature at any one time, there are tons of variables that must be considered; including the ability of an aspirant to tailor a receptive message to potential voters. If there are going to be a well known or worn path to success for nomination, many aspirants would have traveled it, not withstanding the stress. Additionally, many aspirants are often willing to put in extra ordinary effort if that will lead them to winning the nomination. Probably, that is why there are these contestations and unwillingness to accept Mitt Romney as the most likely nominee by other contestants in the race.

Effectively, the current trepidation or reservation from other Republican aspirants regarding Mitt Romney front runner status, is the fact that there are over twelve more states’ contests that the competition may run to the wire just as it had in Iowa. Results from those forthcoming contests in other states, may deny Mitt Romney the required number of delegates to seal the nomination before the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have indicated that they have no plans of dropping out before the convention, putting the odds of a negotiated convention at more than fifty percent, if there is no clear winner of the required 1144 delegates before the Republican's convention. The understanding of this strategy or position of holding out till the end, may be found in the conviction that all candidates must be given the opportunity to canvass for votes until the time of the convention, no matter what, except each chooses otherwise. 

There are 95 delegates for grab in the next contests, Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington DC; not counting outstanding delegate in Louisiana. As of today, the Delegate spread for the Republican candidates are as follows: Romney - 563; Santorum - 263; Gingrich - 135 and Paul - 51. An uncanny analysis of the delegates spread may give Mitt Romney an edge; however, no one can ascertain that at the end of the day, Mitt Romney will have the required number of delegates to forestall a negotiated convention. According to his opponents, Mitt Romney has failed to connect with the greatest number of the Republican base, many of whom may refuse to support him in a general election. Within the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, the fact that Mitt Romney may become the party’s flag bearer is nauseating, because to this group, Romney is a flip-flapper, without a personal vision of what his candidacy is all about. Many moderate Republicans, who are in support of Mitt Romney, will like him to focus or refocus his campaign message on the poor state of the economy in general, in order to improve his chances in the general elections. A few in this group are satisfied with the job Romney's campaign has done so far, except for some few snafus. For this latter group, Mitt Romney may be an imperfect candidate; however, he seems to be the better one in the group, who may be able to wrestle the White House from President Obama.

For many high flying conservative Republicans, the number of Romany’s delegates is more nuance and irrelevant considering the unreliability and falsehood about his message and campaign. There is real belief among this group that Romney hardly shares their reservation about the national deficit; and is considered relatively too moderate for their liking. In general, if Romney becomes the ultimate Republican flag bearer their concerns will still remain high on the convention floor; and if the whole Party membership shudders, there may just be a prize to pay. Among potential opposition points are the failure of Romney to explain out why his healthcare reform program in Massachusetts is now being denied; why Romney has consistently being found as lying about too many issues in his campaign; why the potential front runner for Republican nomination seems too detach from average Americans and their problems; and, why Romney has not been able to get over the country club persona.

Finally, the fact that many voters know that Romney lies so much with such a frequency, that even for a politician is abhorring, is considered food for thought. For example, Romney says Obama did not sign trade deals with other countries, but that is untrue. Obama signed many trade deals including one with South Korea. Romney says Obama doubled the deficit, which is also False. The office of management and budget disagrees with this assertion of Romney's. No matter how the party leaders may be pushing these issues aside, there are going to be a lot of work to be done by the candidate to convince the real conservatives and main stream voters in a general election, that these issues are inconsequential. What is more important to this group is the idea of upholding Reagan flamboyance of conservatism, which the  cannot find in Romney. They see Romney as shifting grounds every time on virtually everything with the intention of re-positioning himself for the general elections; and this is very unsatisfactory to this group. As one Republican Reverend and former State governor from Arkansas once said while running for the Republican nomination in 2008, if a candidate will lie to get nominated, he will lie when he gets into the office. If Candidate Romney cannot differentiate between the truth and fallacy while running for the Republican Party nomination, it will be difficult for him to make rational judgment on public policy without any special interest.

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