Friday, March 30, 2012

End Game, And Then.......

The high profile endorsements of Mitt Romney by major figures in the
Republican Party, and representing various wings of the party, signals the
end of the nomination contest, even as numerous primaries are yet to be
held between now and the end of June. Three other candidates remain in the
contest, but even they have now received the message from voters that a choice
has been made.

As I have recently suggested, it is not necessary for these candidates to
withdraw immediately. What will be important for them is how they
withdraw when the time comes. It also costs a lot of money to run a campaign
for president, and necessity may be a major factor in the timing of their
withdrawals. In the case of Rick Santorum, he faces his home state primary in
Pennsylvania on April 24, and indications are that his initial big lead there
has evaporated, and that if he does not withdraw before that primary, he might
suffer the humiliation of defeat from voters who presumably know him best.
It is already clear that, even if he could win a plurality of that state's vote, Mitt
Romney is now likely to win the largest share of the state's delegates because of
Pennsylvania's unique direct ballot election.

Mr. Romney, while keeping up the pressure on his opponents through his
political advertising, has wisely moved on personally to confront his
November opponent President Obama on the major issues of the 2012
campaign. Already there is a sense that Mr. Romney has waged a more
strategic and effective campaign than first thought by both Democrats and
many Republicans.

Aside from inevitable small incidents that will be deliberately magnified by his
opponents on both the left and the right, Mr. Romney's campaign from now
until the end of the primary season should be mostly anticlimactic.

Republican Party leaders and officials can now turn their attention, in the
interim, to important matters in the still-forming campaigns for governor,
U.S. house and U.S. senate. A dramatic confrontation lies ahead in Wisconsin
where embattled GOP Governor Scott Walker now faces a recall vote
in the summer. Incumbent GOP Senator Richard Lugar also faces a primary
challenge within his own party. In Maine, following the surprise retirement
of GOP Senator Olympia Snowe, a three-way race for her successor includes an
independent candidate who is favored to win in November. Many other
primaries featuring congressional races made uncertain by redistricting also
are ahead. Several nomination races for probably close November U.S. senate
races have also not yet been held.

When this remaining political cloud clears, we will have a better picture of
the 2012 national elections. With the huge and historic decision of the U.S.
supreme court in the matter of Obamacare now set to be written and made
public before the November campaign begins in earnest, the continued weak
recovery of the economy,and the ominous developments in the Middle East
moving closer and closer to its next crisis, this autumn campaign promises to
be one of the most momentous in decades.

Barring unexpected developments in the economy and in the world (always
quite possible), the nation will now have just a bit of a breather before the
final confrontations between the candidates, the political parties, and the
world views now entering the open field of American history's latest and
periodic arena of electoral battle.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman
All rights reserved.

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