No matter how much success he has, the media just keeps moving the goalposts away from Mitt Romney.They said he had to win Florida. And he won it convincingly. Then he lost three state contests that awarded no delegates. And everyone said it was a disaster and he had to stop the bleeding in Maine. Which he did.
But that still wasn’t enough.
Once again, polls showed Santorum creeping upward and the media narrative said that Romney had to defeat Santorum in Michigan. And he did. Even with Santorum winning 3 out of every 4 Democratic voters there.
The media just ignored Romney’s 20 point victory in Arizona and are already trying to gin up interest for Super Tuesday. Don’t look to Virginia, they say, where the ineptness of the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns means they couldn’t even get on the ballot. Don’t look at Vermont or Massachusetts either where Romney is going to crush everyone. Those don’t count. Look at Ohio which is the close one, they say.
But let’s get real. For all these ups and downs, here is what the total votes look like for all the contests so far.
Mitt Romney: 1,811,625 votes or 40.19%
Rick Santorum: 1,070,521 votes or 23.75%
Newt Gingrich: 977,999 votes or 21.70%
Ron Paul: 493,383 votes or 10.95%
Four years ago John McCain had won New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. That’s it. Those were the wins. McCain had finished tied for third in Iowa, way behind any finish Romney has posted this year.
Before Super Tuesday 2008 Romney got a win in Michigan, and was plucking up delegates in Maine, Wyoming, and Nevada. Mike Huckabee won Iowa and finished close to McCain in South Carolina.
So why do people think Romney is in trouble?
Well, look at all the reasons Molly Ball cited in her article at The Atlantic. The debates have drawn out the contest. New rules allow eccentric and rich donors to keep a campaign on life support that would otherwise die of natural causes. The delegate rules were re-written to create a longer momentum-building contest this time. But the new system allows no-hopers to hang around and wait for a miracle surge.
The other candidates are betting on the idea that they have super-activists who are invading the state conventions and will make up an army of delegates at the convention in Tampa.
But just look at the votes. With about four and a half million ballots cast, Romney has almost 800,000 more votes than his nearest challenger. He won the delegates outright in Florida and Arizona. And if he is the choice of the party-Establishment, that means he’ll keep collecting delegates at the state conventions this summer. Some Ron Paul fans will get in, but in many cases the state convention will be dominated by the same Establishment Republicans that have always reigned there.
There is no good reason to believe Romney will fail to get the nomination. No good reason other than the hope for an exciting and unpredictable race.
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