Even if he wins Florida tomorrow Is Mitt Romney Inevitable?
The case for yes is this: Romney is the front-runner at this moment in time and has been for a majority of the primary season. We already know he has the money, the organization and the strategy to go the distance. Gingrich, on the other hand, has not displayed the ability to compete financially (he was outspent 2-to-1 in South Carolina and 5-to-1 in Florida) or organizationally (didn’t qualify for the ballot in either Missouri or Virginia). With the momentum having shifted back to Romney as we head into a relative calm before the Super Tuesday storm in March, he’s in a prime position to snatch up even more endorsements, more money and more support.
In addition, his all but certain win in Florida will come with another 50 delegates (more than New Hampshire and South Carolina combined) and bragging rights in a pivotal general election state. This has led some, including Romney surrogate Senator John McCain, to effectively make the case that it’s over and we should just crown the nominee now.
But there’s reason for caution. Here’s the case for no.
Just last week, you could have argued (and I did) that Newt Gingrich filled the role of front-runner after winning South Carolina and a surge in Florida polling in this topsy-turvy battle. Even a Romney win in Florida, impressive as it would be, would only be his second win in four primaries.
Gingrich allies also point out that the Gallup Daily tracking poll put the former Speaker ahead of Romney 32-24 over the weekend. This particular poll has tended to be a lagging indicator, but even so it still shows a tight two-man race under way nationally.
At some point, we may also see a situation akin to what I described as having helped cement Gingrich’s comeback in South Carolina: an electorate not wanting to be told what to do. Each time the chatter of inevitability begins to dominate the conversation, there’s a chance they will snap.
Finally, there’s the outcome neither side wants: a brokered convention. Pundits and activists continue to debate the merits of a scenario where the Republican Party could produce a nominee other than those in the current field.
Remember: nothing is inevitable in politics. There are most likely, probable and potential outcomes. But no inevitable outcomes. Never.
Last week, we asked Does Obama Have a 2nd Term Plan? There’s no better way to answer that question than with this video produced by the Republican National Committee. In short: Obama’s second term plan is the same as his first. And we see how that’s turned out.
Until next time…