The latest official delegate count from the Republican National Committee gives Mitt Romney 573 delegates and Rick Santorum 202 delegates, out of the 1,034 delegates which have been at stake. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the nomination in the first round. Since there are a total of 2,286 delegates which will be awarded, the primary season is still not quite halfway over, and Romney is only halfway to the mark.
A lot has been made of Romney winning Wisconsin, and that on this basis Santorum should drop out of the race. However, it is a pipe dream to think that Wisconsin (or Pennsylvania, for that matter) will be in the GOP column in November, unless the election is a complete blowout. The real story is that Romney has yet to win a state in the Bible Belt or the Deep South, apart from Virginia, a state where only he and Ron Paul were on the ballot, and that apart from Nevada, Idaho, Virginia, and his home state of Massachusetts, Romney has been unable to get even 50% of the vote. (Santorum broke 50% in Missouri and Kansas, and got 49% in Louisiana.)
The basic fact is that the nomination process is still only half over. Likely, Santorum will do poorly in the next few primaries, as they are not red or even purple states. Next on the docket are Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The only state Santorum has a reasonable chance in is Pennsylvania, but Romney is already pouring millions of dollars into negative advertising there in an attempt to make him the most reviled person to ever call the place home. If Santorum can withstand this barrage and if conservatives do not lose heart, then in May there are primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virgina, Oregon, Arkansas, Kentucky, and then Texas. Under normal circumstances, Santorum should win all of these states except Oregon. This is, of course, contingent upon conservatives not losing heart.
Will conservatives succumb to a candidate who is trying to buy the election, who seems to have no guiding principles, who holds up social conservatives in disdain, and who has run the most negative campaign in history in an attempt to destroy conservatives and other Republicans to further his own ambitions? Or, will we continue to hold out for something better?
While there is no clear path for Santorum to get the nomination on the first ballot, there is a clear path towards denying a first ballot coronation of Mitt Romney, and thereby being able to either strike him from the ticket in favor of someone else, or put him in such a vise that he will not dare throw the pro-life movement under the bus after the convention, as seems to be his game plan.
The choice is really up to us. I am not altogether convinced that Romney can or even should become president unless he starts upholding conservative principles, and starts to present a clear vision for what he wants to do as president. Thus far, he has only been conservative in the sense that many conservatives are pro-business. That is really not good enough. Why should we be put into the position where we have to settle for this?
- Despite Establishment Talking Points, The GOP Fight is Far From Over (markamerica.com)
- Why Conservatives Should Support Santorum (treeofmamre.wordpress.com)
- Santorum campaign disputes delegate counts as it claims race is closer (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)