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After today's primary results, does Rick Santorum have any chance to win the...

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alexkirk | (Level 3) Honors

Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM via web

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After today's primary results, does Rick Santorum have any chance to win the nomination?

I mean, he's not out yet, but the odds seem to be getting longer.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM (Answer #1)

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Mitt Romney has every traditional advantage by the normal rules, in that he has a nationwide campaign ground game and organization, he is well-funded, especially compared to the three other men in the race.  He is certainly more moderate and therefore has some of the traditional party apparatus behind him.  But he has to run to the right in order to get the nomination this time, and Santorum (and to a lesser degree, Gingrich), can paint him as a fake conservative.

While I think this will win Santorum states like Kansas and Texas, perhaps even Mississippi and Alabama, I think he'll go the same route as Huckabee in the 2008 election and lose the nomination to Romney by May or June.

I don't think this is an ordinary election, though, or at the least, within the Republican Party, the normal rules and dynamics have been fundamentally changed.  In 1996 or 2000, a Santorum-style candidacy would have had no chance whatsoever, a la Pat Buchanan or Gary Bauer.  In 2012, however, the primary electorate is very different, and decidedly more socially conservative.  So while I would normally bet the house on Romney's nomination, right now I give him only a 2 - 1 edge.  He can still lose this, but probably won't.  But in winning the nomination, he will be badly positioned to seriously challenge Barack Obama, especially if the economy continues to improve.

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