Romney fails to seal the deal on Super Tuesday

 
Mitt Romney in Boston. Photo: 6 March 2012 In his speech, Mitt Romney talked of going "step-by-step, door-by-door" to a victory

The results on Super Tuesday can be like the mist lifting, bringing a new clarity to our view of the race, revealing a fresh landscape.

This time the picture is almost as murky as before; the outlines are unchanged.

Four years ago on Super Tuesday, George Bush was endorsing John MCain. No-one has been anointed tonight.

Mitt Romney has inched ahead. On paper, looking at the mathematics, he is obviously the winner.

If you dropped in on this race cold, if you hadn't been following the twists and turns, you would be puzzled that anyone would question that.

But the point is he's failed to seal the deal. He has the best organisation and the most money but can't deliver a knockout blow to his rivals.

It is they who evoke passion among the people who are voting.

Rick Santorum has established himself as the main "anti-Mitt".

Rick Santorum speaks in Ohio. Photo: 6 March 2012 Rick Santorum has has to pull off some exceptional coups in the next few primaries

But he would have to pull off some exceptional coups in the next few primaries to convince people that he can win, that he can be the Republican candidate, rather than just the main repository for conservative protest votes.

Of course, Newt Gingrich would say that he's the one who is going to stun observers, and win in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

He has put himself back in the race by winning Georgia: he gets secret service protection from today, the US Government's seal of seriousness on a candidate.

He declared, "There are a lot of bunny rabbits to run through; I am the tortoise." He says the elite, the media, the establishment, the forces of Wall Street (Mitt Romney) wanted to kill him off but have failed.

It's bold talk, but he only won one state out of 10, and that was his home state. His results were unimpressive elsewhere.

Ron Paul is in a different category. He is at this stage fighting for his philosophy rather than to become president.

He took large chunks of the vote in many states and will stay in the race.

So they all battle on. Only a string of defeats for Romney seriously changes the arc of this story.

After Super Tuesday, the conviction of most commentators will be strengthened that he will in the end win: he will be the Republican candidate in the autumn to take on Barack Obama.

But when in his speech Romney talked of going "step by step, door by door", it felt like it came from the heart.

It must feel like he is crawling across an endless plain on broken glass, the mirage of eventual victory shimmering ever in the distance.

 
Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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US Presidential Election 2012

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 20.

    Democracy doesn't work. Candidates fight to be different but are actually all the same; by definition, a majority requires that you stay as close to the centre as possible.
    I propose Italy's latest system. Government is run by technocrats with evidence based policies, CONTROLLED by politicians who argue, but then vote to maintain a reasonable centralist course; no winners or losers, just progress.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    I don’t really think it will matter who the Republicans nominate, Obama may not be as popular as he once was, but I still think he has got it in the bag.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 18.

    9. Rutger Flugal

    "Perhaps if any of the candidates didn't come across as nuts, or didn't tout Jesus as their special friend, they would be winning the nomination easily."

    This is America. Being a nut and claiming Jesus as a special friend is a prerequisite.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    re #15 Falco "Do we not think that voters in Southern states would be more numerically likely to a) support an outspoken Conservative Christian than the Mormon guy known as "King Flip-Flop"? and b) back a heart-speaker over a businessman?"




    Or even a former House Speaker?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 16.

    Re #8
    "Without SuperPAC money I doubt Santorium could have stayed in the field long enough ..."



    Are you willing to guess where Barack Hussein Obama would have been today in ratings without SuperPAC money?

    [people who live in glass houses, etc....]


    Btw.(re #12) Mr Forbes is the best example that you cannot simply buy your way to the Republican nomination.

    [not that Ross Perot...]

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 15.

    Also, Mark points out that Santorum would need to sweep the South convincingly to upset the Romney cart. The question, surely, is "Isn't he very likely to do just that?" Do we not think that voters in Southern states would be more numerically likely to a) support an outspoken Conservative Christian than the Mormon guy known as "King Flip-Flop"? and b) back a heart-speaker over a businessman?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 14.

    4.Ed Borasky
    1 Hour ago
    It's a bit late for anyone *but* Romney to take the GOP nomination."




    Probably. But bear in mind that the Electoral College doesn't have to automatically choose a candidate with most votes. Just like many electors are not obligated to support such a candidate, even if they weren't initially non-committed.

    "There's many a slip between a cup and a lip".

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    Mitt Romney is inching forward but the race is still wide open. Republicans will have to wait till August before a clear winner emerges. As the GOP candidates slug it out and shoot themselves in the foot, President Obama will be able to consolidate his position.Super Tuesday has not really anointed any candidate but has given Mitt Romney a slight edge over the others.Sarah Palin could still enter!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 12.

    Innnnteresting. 38-37 in Ohio seems to show an ongoing reluctance to believe that Romney is anything but,as Andy Parsons recently said, "the guy who wasn't good enough to beat the guy who wasn't good enough to beat George W Bush". Santorum will be kicking himself over those 2 percentage points, but at some point you have to ask - can you simply spend your way to the Republican nomination?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 11.

    Romney still hasn't won the hearts and minds of Republicans, let alone independents and democrats. But he has a very useful asset: money, seemingly in endless amounts. Let's see if that is all it takes to win an election in America, because he doesn't have much else.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    Mitt can't spend his way to a convincing win, and can't manage to sell himself to his own party, and can't get his own party to turn out in November. The others can't get the independents that will be necessary for a win. It's much too early to be handicapping the November results, but in all fairness, it's not looking good in GOP Land.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 9.

    Perhaps if any of the candidates didn't come across as nuts, or didn't tout Jesus as their special friend, they would be winning the nomination easily.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 8.

    In years past, by this point Paul and Gingrich would have run out of funds due to their weak showing and withdrawn. Without SuperPAC money I doubt Santorium could have stayed in the field long enough to become the current anti-Mitt. Romney has the money and organization required to win, having spent the last 4 years building it. He'll still win but at a greater cost in many ways.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 7.

    Of course, it'd also help if the four remaining candidates weren't walking advertisements as to why the Monster Raving Loony Party could happily rebrand as "perfectly sane by comparison" too

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 6.

    One of the reasons why this contest is dragging when ones before are usually over by now is the RNC change to the process after 2008, from winner-take all to a more distributed system in many states

    In the past, winning the primaries in a handful of states would get you enough delegates for the Convention that no-one could catch up

    Reading too much into the *appearance* of fractures is an error

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 5.

    The fractured nature of the Republican nominations clearly shows that there is a lack of a convincing Republican candidate. If the Republicans themselves are not convinced about any of their candidates, will those who are not committed or even Democrats vote for any of the present Republican candidates and ensure a Preseidential win? The prospects of a Republican win look increasingly bleak!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 4.

    It's a bit late for anyone *but* Romney to take the GOP nomination. Romney is running against Obama; all the rest of the GOP candidates are running against Romney. I think Romney *has* sealed the deal, and it's wishful thinking to suggest otherwise at this point.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 3.

    This Super Tuesday has not sealed the deal for any of the Republican candidates. The battle for electoral college votes will carry on until Tampa. Romney may eventually win but he won't wipe Santorum, Paul and Gingrich off of the board. It will be a close run thing, and _then_ the winner has to face down Obama and his successes in the economy, oil production, jobs, foreign relations, etc.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    When all the other GOP candidates are primarily pitching their claim on simply 'not being Romney' it has to tell you something. There's not a lot to choose between them. There's not a lot to choose between them and Obama. The benefits of having a single Centreist party will only issue when recognition of that situation prevails. No more political gridlock. One party. The Muddy Fudge Party.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1.

    What's with the headline? Romney only just edged out Santorum. He's got a long way to go.

 

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