Again and again anti-Romneys within the “very conservative” camp of the GOP and among the MSM eager to keep the ratings-and clicks-generator going provide dire warnings about Romney’s rocky road ahead or his failure to lock up the race for the GOP nomination.
In fact, Romney has locked up the nomination, absent a meteor strike. (Here’s one explanation of that inevitability, from the Wall Street Journal’s Neil King, Jr. Here’s another from the AP’s Kasie Hunt. The closest thing to an argument as to why Romney won’t get to 1144 is provided by the estimable Sean Trende over at RCP, but even this “worst case” scenario for Romney puts him just shy of 1144 and with plenty of opportunities to round up the necessary over-the-top delegates from the ranks of the uncommitted.)
PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: To lock up this momentum-proof race, Romney needs a few big wins in a row. He aced N.H., then lost S.C. Dominated Florida; got embarrassed in Colorado. Wrapped up Michigan, eked out Ohio, went 0-2 in the South. So the new formula for Romney to get back on the horse is to snare Illinois on Tuesday, then Wisconsin on April 3 (there are also primaries in Md., D.C.) He then could argue that he is the only candidate winning big, competitive states. Those twin losses wouldn’t knock out Santorum, but would make it harder for him to generate excitement in the lag till the next contests, on April 24 . And that could really be Romney’s super Tuesday: If he beat Santorum in his home state of Pennsylvania, Rick would have little rationale to go on. Romney could also get N.Y. and Conn. wins that day.
What this analysis tries to do is inject drama in a now drama-less race by manufacturing many obstacles for Romney to clear, without a sentence on the fact that getting to 1144 is actually not only easy, but inevitable –if one assumes the simple fact that Romney will take New Jersey which is a winner-take-all state. (There are only 3 other winner-take-all contests, D.C., Delaware and Utah, and Romney is favored in all of them as well.) Romney enjoys the strong support of Governor Chris Christie, and the state is an expensive one in which to campaign. There is no way for Rick Santorum to get to 1144 even if he wins Jersey, and he isn’t likely to win Jersey.
Really, this isn’t complicated. But it is both boring for the MSM, so they ignore it, and damaging to President Obama since the longer there is any case not to recognize the inevitable GOP nominee the longer the president can avoid answering his certain opponent’s volleys. Keeping Romney from “de facto” nominee status doesn’t hurt his chances of getting the nomination, which as InTrade suggests, are near 100%, but it does help Obama, so expect the MSM to keep peddling the line that there is uncertainty where there is none.
To repeat: It is locked up. Romney could even lose New Jersey, but that isn’t likely, and winning it seals the deal. So contra what Mike Allen suggests above, Romney doesn’t have to win Illinois, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania –though he might– and he isn’t being weakened by the continued participation of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. He’s accumulating the delegates he needs to be nominated, and once nominated even those parts of the party who supported someone else will of course rally to him because the country cannot afford four more years of President Obama’s epic incompetence.
The absurdity of the refusal of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite to sit down with a primary calendar and walk through results that are indicated by polling and experience tells us nothing about the GOP race and a lot about the MSM. Romney is going to be the GOP nominee. If it weren’t so, you’d have read an explanation why by now, but you haven’t, because it is so and it won’t be changing.