Quote of the Day

“NHPrimary Trivia: The Republican candidates have not spoken to a black person since Herman Cain dropped out.” –Andy Borowitz

Bonus Quote going back to Iowa:

“Say what you will about the margin of Romney’s victory, but 8 votes is still 6 more than Rick Perry can count.” –Andy Borowitz

Conservative Group Backs Rick Santorum

Mitt Romney remains the most likely candidate to win the Republican nomination, but there has been another event which could lead to the less likely scenario I discussed after the Iowa caucus which makes Rick Santorum the nominee. A group of social conservative activists met in Texas and, after three ballots, voted to back Rick Santorum. If, and this is a big if, conservative voters in Republican primaries were to fall in line behind this endorsement, Santorum could win.

There are obviously many obstacles in Santorum’s way. Romney is helped tremendously by the fragmentation of the conservative vote. Newt Gingrich, who did poorly in the first two contests, is running closest to Romney in many polls in South Carolina and does not appear likely to leave the race. Andy Borowitz calculates that “Newt Gingrich has now been in the race longer than any of his marriages” and, based upon his past behavior, does not believe Newt will leave the race unless it gets cancer.

Ron Paul, whose support is increasing in South Carolina,  is helping Mitt Romney by accumulating a block of delegates which are irrelevant towards choosing an actual nominee. It is not clear what Paul’s end game is, but I certainly do not see him throwing his delegates to Santorum.

There is a question as to whether this is the right year for Santorum, who is far better known for his reactionary views on social issues in a year in which economic issues dominate. However, as Republican economic policy consists primarily of repeating ideas which never work in the real world, it shouldn’t be difficulty for Santorum to learn to speak to Republican voters on the economy. Santorum might also be hindered by a Dan Quayle level of intellect, but that did not stop Republican voters from nominating George W. Bush.

A big question remains as to whether any of the more conservative candidates can emerge to the point where they can come in first place when the nomination battle moves to the winner-take-all stage in April. Even if a single conservative cannot beat Romney consistently, if different ones manage to beat him in different states there is a chance, although small, that the campaign could even be taken to the convention.