BY THE MIDNIGHT MAN
Super Tuesday is the proverbial turning point for Republican presidential candidates. It’s the day that, according to political analysts, has the ability to change the landscape of the 2012 GOP primary race.
Yet these so-called experts, many of whom are employed by left-leaning media institutions who want to prolong what has been a heated Republican primary process, have failed to recognize one crucial reality:
The race is over.
It’s quite possible that the race for the GOP candidacy ended two weeks ago when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeated his fellow candidates in the Arizona and Michigan primaries. Since those two major victories, the Romney campaign has gained an enormous amount of momentum. He has claimed a subsequent victory in the Washington caucus. He has surged nationwide in polls against President Barack Obama. Most importantly, he has taken a slight lead in the Ohio primary polls over Rick Santorum.
So regardless of how well Santorum performs in Tennessee and Oklahoma, or if Newt Gingrich wins in Georgia, it is clear – to some – that the Romney machine will not be defeated.
It is quite possible that today is the day that officials declare that the Romney hype train has transformed from a steady and slow moving freight into a high-speed, high-powered locomotive that will be extremely dangerous and difficult to beat come Election Day.
Here are three other themes to track on Super Tuesday:
1) Ohio – The Most Important Primary – Clearly the most relevant primary of the day, Ohio promises to be a close, hard-fought battle between Romney and Santorum. The latest polls suggest that Romney has a minor lead, with Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul far behind. However, with endorsements from former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as well as Congressional leaders Eric Cantor (R – Va.) and Tom Coburn (R – OK), a victory for Romney seems probable, as do the valuable candidates that will likely result. A Romney victory in Ohio is extremely important, as it will likely demonstrate to party leaders that he is capable of winning in Ohio, a vital battleground during general elections.
2) Delegates Matter – In order to win the GOP nomination, a candidate must collect a total of 1,144 delegates from state primaries and caucuses. According to unofficial estimates from various news outlets, Romney currently has a 120 delegate lead over Santorum, with Paul and Gingrich in third and fourth, respectively. When the polls open Tuesday, more than 400 delegates will be up for grabs in 10 state contests. The outcomes from these primaries are undoubtedly essential to each candidate’s campaign. The delegate count for each man after Tuesday will be a critical factor as to whether they decide to remain in the race.
3) Who Will Fight On? – This is the question political pundits will be asking around 11 p.m. Tuesday. Romney, who I believe will be the eventual Republican candidate, clearly will continue and use his predicted victories Tuesday to spread his message throughout America. Depending on how he performs in Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma, Santorum may have to re-evaluate his candidacy. If he were to lose in Ohio and either of the other two key states, the Santorum campaign will struggle to raise enough money to compete in the coming weeks. Gingrich, who vows to carry on until August’s Republican National Convention, will undoubtedly remain in the race, even if his campaign’s financial resources are limited. Regardless of Tuesday’s results, Paul is almost certain to stay in the race, as he continues to ride the coattails of his small but dedicated base of supporters.
The Midnight Man is a contributing writer to Yi!, focusing on politics as well as golf, hockey and Bucknell basketball.