Sunday, March 4, 2012

Super Tuesday Is Not All That Super – Only Four Contests Matter as Virginia Has Been Rigged for Romney

“Rigged for Romney” – There’s a Nice Campaign Theme

The Super Tuesday concept in primaries evolved some elections cycles ago when a lot of states had their primaries grouped together.  This year Super Tuesday is on a Tuesday, no surprise there, but its importance is not really all that great.  This time the number of states that matter on Super Tuesday is sharply reduced.

This year only five states would be critical here, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia and Virginia.  Of the five, Virginia is probably the most significant because it is a relatively neutral battleground between Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum.  The state would be a real test of the popularity of either candidate. 

However, as it turned out Mr. Santorum’s inept campaign (along with Mr. Gingrich’s inept campaign) did not get enough signatures on petitions to get on the ballot.  Virginia’s Republican controlled government could still have placed Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich on the ballot, but the Governor, Robert McDonnell is lusting after the VP position (that VP means Vice President not Vaginal Probe) so he refused to intercede and allow a real race. Once again Conservatives show they are willing to sacrifice this democracy thing to achieve their goals.

So Mr. Romney will win Virginia by default, although that will not prevent him from claiming an historic victory in the state.  Mitt, like many politicians, does very well when he is unopposed.

Oklahoma is important because it is very conservative and Mr. Santorum needs to win in that state to maintain credibility.  He is also favored, so a loss would be not only a real loss, but a loss relative to expectations.  Expect Mr. Santorum to win Oklahoma.

In Tennessee the situation is similar to Oklahoma.  Mr. Santorum needs to win there to couple his expected Oklahoma win to show that he can win more than one important state on Super Tuesday.  The race here in the Volunteer state is likely to be close and tied to turnout.

Georgia is only important to Newt Gingrich, because he needs to win his home state to avoid being a laughing stock of the campaign.  Actually, that is not entirely true since he is likely to be a laughing stock even if he wins Georgia.  Polls show Mr. Gingrich with a solid lead, so the interest here is really in who finishes second and by how much.  A third place finish by Mr. Romney, along with losses in Oklahoma and Tennessee will lead to questions about his appeal in the real South (no, Florida is not the real South, although parts of it are.  The parts won by Mr. Gingrich)

Winning Georgia would be a real tragedy for Mr. Gingrich.  A loss would allow him to exit the race.  A win will mean he stays in, losing more credibility, spending more money he does not have, and subjecting him again and again to the ridicule of the public and the press.  A loss would be a mercy killing for his campaign.  For those of us who feel Mr. Gingrich does not deserve the dignity of a graceful leave of the battle for the nomination, a win in George will not bother us.

This takes us to Ohio, where the real action is.  The polls are probably not very reliable and the most that anyone can say at this point is that the race is probably a tossup.  Turnout as measured by early voting is down in the state, and a messy fight over the leadership of the Republican party in the state also clouds the issue.  The conventional wisdom is that Ohio is leaning to Mr. Santorum and that he will be helped by low turnout.  Conventional wisdom is often wrong. 

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