I can't help but be drawn in by the Republican Primary stuff. I really like electoral politics. I'd really like to ignore them and their shenanigans, but damn it they are having elections and I fucking love elections. I'm not into it enough to watch debates or anything, but I devote a little (a lot) bit of brain power in trying to determine what will happen.
Aside from the fact they are having competitive caucuses and primaries, it is also thoroughly entertaining to see the Republicans like this. This almost never happens with them. They're nomination process is usually very orderly. The Republicans almost always give their nomination to the person who finished second in the last round of competitive primaries (John McCain) or the Vice President (George H. W. Bush). Even in the cases where it doesn't exactly go to that form, it's still pretty orderly as a front runner is picked and the establishment gets in line (George W. Bush).
If the Republicans were following their typical pattern, Mitt Romney would definitely be the nominee. I have maintained that I didn't think he would win the nomination though. He looks every bit of the WASP that you would expect of the GOP, but he isn't a WASP; he's a Mormon and in Republican politics he might as well be a Martian. Also, the other Candidates hate him, so as they drop out they attack him with their last breaths and the throw their support behind his strongest opponent.
Mitt Romney is actually looking like he will be the nominee though and it certainly wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about this sort of thing. He won Iowa. He's going to win New Hampshire, probably by a large margin. Winning those two basically is winning the nomination in normal years. Their delegate totals are actually very small and those two states don't really do a good job at representing the nation, but that doesn't really matter. Win those two and you get momentum and the media pegs you the front runner and you're set to start writing you're acceptance speech.
The thing that makes me really hesitant to guarantee Romney's nomination is that after New Hampshire the Primary calender is very unfriendly to him. Also, the environment will become unfriendly. The division in the anti-Romney vote will go away as people drop out. Also, it has become clear the Republican electorate seems to come to hate the front runner this cycle.
It does look like the anti-Romney candidate will be Rick Santorum*. His timing seems to be just about right. The other anti-Romney people had their time on top of the polls and ended up getting beat up by the other candidates and rejected by the electorate. It seems the only other candidate who could add to the intrigue is Ron Paul. He is going to have to win Primaries though. A close second or third would be good enough in the Democratic Party, but not with the G.O.P.
If the Republicans had the rules of the Democrats, this would be even more fun to watch. The way the Democrats go about allocating delegates is ridiculously convoluted**, which the nation became familiar with in 2008. The Republicans don't do that. There are no Super-delegates and there is no dividing of delegates based on vote totals or congressional districts. It's very simple*** for the Republicans. If you win a state's primary or caucus you get all the delegates from that state.
The dream scenario would be that Romney, Paul and Santorum show up at the convention and they would all be short of a majority. I honestly don't see an alliance that could be formed there. It would be terribly messy and I'd love to see a messy* convention.
My hope is that Santorum wins the nomination, because Obama would win reelection with ease in that case. I actually think Obama will win against any of them. I have a theory that the 2012 General Election is going to sort of mirror the 2004 General Election****, but I'll wait to expand on that in a future post.
Thanks for reading and please comment
*Have you googled Santorum today?
**It's actually very democratic, in the actual sense of the word.
***It's actually very republican, in the actual sense of the word.
****In that the incumbent wins, not that the Republican wins.