Predictions for the Republican Race Going Forward

With Santorum’s miraculous come from behind hat trick in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, the race for the Republican nomination was once again thrown a curve ball. Romney was demoralized and put on the defensive, Gingrich was marginalized, and Santorum was revitalized. The question now is whether Santorum can carry that momentum forward to future successes. Counting all contests up to and including Maine, Santorum has won the same number states as Romney, though Romney has more delegates as of now. Despite this, the race is turning into a delegate contest, and later, winner-take-all states will have more effect on the race than the current proportional contest states.

There are two likely ways forward that I can personally see. One is that Romney rebounds from this defeat and goes on to win the nomination over a fractured conservative field. This would happen if no candidate dropped out of the race, and if no major upsets in the race were to surface. In this situation, the conservative tea party vote would be splintered between Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum, allowing Romney to clinch the nomination.

The second way forward I see is that Gingrich or Santorum drops out. If this were to happen, conservatives would almost definitely coalesce around the other candidate. This coalition would most likely be able to defeat Romney in the next couple states, causing a large exodus of Romney’s base of support: the Republican establishment. Gingrich or Santorum would most likely go on to win the nomination and secure a strong position come the general election.

Overall, these two ways forward, while not the only ways forward, are most likely. The wild card that Ron Paul represents could easily sway the race in a particular manner, especially with Romney’s attempts to “cozy up” with Paul and not target him at all. Whatever the outcome, the Republican candidate will most likely emerge bruised and weakened for the general election, giving Obama a considerable advantage in addition to his fundraising prowess. That is far off, however, and the Republican nomination is far from over.

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  • riccija  On February 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    This anti-romeny vote is the key. If Gingrich or Santorum drops out soon, i think that the other will take the nomination. I think that the majority of the Gingrich/Paul/Santorum votes are actually anti-romney votes, and the sonner the race comes down to two, the more likely Romeny will lose….again.

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