No, really: Romney won last night

Not that the contrived drama will actually end any time soon

Topics: Mitt Romney, 2012 Elections, Republican Party, Rick Santorum,

No, really: Romney won last nightMitt Romney and Rick Santorum (Credit: AP)

As could have been predicted shortly after he dropped out of the 2008 race, Mitt Romney is the likely 2012 Republican nominee for president. Because his wins in Massachusetts and Virginia were expected, the press downplayed the significance, but those states alone gave him 84 delegates. According to the AP’s current total, Rick Santorum won 84 delegates altogether last night. It looked, for one entertaining hour, like Santorum might eke out a narrow Ohio victory, which would have been portrayed as a massive upset. Instead, Romney did so, and it was portrayed as a Pyrrhic victory. As Dave Weigel says, Romney won. It was, contra most pundits, a very good night for the guy who will almost certainly be the nominee barring stunning convention shenanigans.

Unfortunately for Mitt, as Steve writes, the immediate future will present more awful headlines and the race can’t be wrapped up any time soon.

John Avlon says Romney can continue having victories like last night’s and still not reach the magic number of 1,144, but there is no conceivable way Santorum or Gingrich ever reach that number, meaning right now the nation joins Romney in simply waiting for them to stop prolonging this.

So the question is, when will they stop prolonging this? It’s fun to pretend that Gingrich and Santorum and Paul are too dedicated/crazy to ever let Romney have the nomination, but they are actually mostly rational actors. Newt Gingrich, the craziest, is going to stay in long enough to win the next couple of Southern states, but then he is going to run out of money. Paul isn’t winning enough votes or delegates to matter, plus he’s got his son’s career to think of. Santorum is a party hack at heart and will not take this fight to a divided convention.



This could still conceivably go on through May; Santorum’s Pennsylvania, with 72 delegates to award, doesn’t vote until April 24 (on that same day Romney will likely win many more delegates in Connecticut, New York, Delaware and Rhode Island). The White House is praying it lasts until June (the “last in the nation” Utah primary is on June 26). But it should be done in time for the summer, and while Romney will have been financially and politically weakened by the fight, he’ll still have the entire party apparatus closing in lockstep behind him because that is what they always do, even when they hate their nominee. (They hated John McCain, too!)

Current Santorum and Gingrich voters will support Romney in the fall, because he will be the Republican running against Obama. The “anyone but Romney” bloggers will support Romney. Fox will get very excited for him. George Will and Peggy Noonan will pseudo-reluctantly throw their support behind him for the good of the nation. Those evangelicals who don’t trust Mormons will decide Mormons are at least better than Muslims.

There is the actual voting part of the race for the nomination, the media part of the campaign, and the party elite consensus part. There’s a lot more voting to go, but Romney is winning. The press loves to cover a close race but they quickly turn on a lost cause who won’t quit already. The party itself is almost finished settling.

The real scary news: Now Rick Santorum is the 2016 GOP nomination front-runner. (It’s probably safe to say that the party will explore nomination rule changes between now and 2016.)

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>