Today: May 29, 2024

Race outcome is evident

 Christopher McBriartyStaff Writer

Ding, ding, ding. It’s over. It’s over. Well, not quite. Have you ever looked at a chess board or even a Connect Four grid and had that sickening feeling of defeat, but it isn’t over until you move? Rick Santorum is experiencing that right now.

He was the only realistic challenger to Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination, but last week his chances were extinguished after the primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the Dis­trict of Columbia were all won by Romney. To win the nomination the candidates need 1,144 delegates with Romney now having captured 658, while Santorum is languishing with 281.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, the other nominees in the race to represent the Republi­can Party in November against Barack Obama, have had that sickening feeling of defeat for weeks–they’re just postponing their move.

But for Rick Santorum this feeling is raw. And for victory Santorum now needs 80 percent of the delegates from the remaining primaries and caucuses, which is possible but impossible at the same time.

Romney will likely take the majority of del­egates in the next round of primaries on April 24 when Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island gather to vote.

Romney is on a roll from those victories last week and rightly so; he took 86 of the 95 del­egates available in those three states last week.

On top of that, the former Massachu­setts governor has received some heavyweight endorsements: the House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan; former Florida governor, Jeb Bush; and former president, George H. W. Bush, to name a few. Whether these endorse­ments help candidates with voters is another issue, but it is positive press for Romney.

So with all this it seems reasonable to as­sume Santorum, Gingrich and Paul will throw in the towel and rally behind Romney, right? Not quite. And they are doing nobody any fa­vors by delaying the inevitable. Well, Ron Paul is staying in to promote his libertarian message, but Gingrich and Santorum are now the two elephants in the room.

It’s awkward. Just let it go guys. You did your best, you put up a good fight; hell, it was even entertaining for a while. But now, it’s dragging. By this time in 2008 John McCain had secured the 1,144 delegates and was surely looking at the kind of paintings he would like to hang up in the White House should he win.

But fast forward to 2012, and Santorum is holding on regardless: “I think in this primary, the longer it goes, the better it is for the party.” He also said it is “half-time” in this nomination race. If this is half-time then the crowd is leaving their seats to go home rather than buy snacks in preparation for the second half.

But still, these quotes from Santorum have a hint of reality; he has a chance, be it miniscule. But for Gingrich–that’s certainly over. Yet his rhetoric is still hopeful.

“The Washington establishment wants to declare this race over, but I am committed to carrying the banner of bold conservative colors all the way to Tampa to ensure the Republican Party never abandons the timeless conservative principles of Ronald Reagan and the Contract with America,” he said recently. Who said poli­tics isn’t funny?

Well Romney certainly isn’t saying that these days. He’s now focusing his attention on Obama and leaving these Republican nominees in his dust.

And he needs to because it isn’t look­ing as good when he’s weighed up against Obama. A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted toward the end of March put Obama ahead of Romney by 11 points nationally–54 percent to 43 percent–when asked who they would be more likely to vote for if Obama and Romney were to face each other.

So this is over. Let’s quit pretending this race is still on and do everybody a favor: De­clare Mitt Romney the Republican presiden­tial nominee and let’s get this presidential race started.

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