Monday, January 23, 2012

Spoiler Alert

Newt's victory in South Carolina was good for the news media and good for Democrats who enjoy seeing intra-Republican squabbling, but not a sign that Gingrich will become the 2012 Republican nominee for president.

There are only two realistic possibilities going forward for the Republicans. Either they will nominate Romney, or they will nominate a moderate to be named later in a brokered national convention. The Republican Party is presently embroiled in a battle for control between its ideologues and its political establishment. Thanks to the new "wild west" campaign finance regime created by Citizens United the nomination process has become the battle field for this intra-party struggle. The key advantage of establishment partisans in nomination battles past was that their candidates could outlast the ideologues by using electability as an increasingly useful way to sap ideological candidates of momentum and resources.

In 2012, the ideological right can afford to push a candidate all the way to the convention. However, I don't think they can prevent the establishment from beating them, one way or another, at the convention. Nonetheless, Newt or Santorum will likely go all the way in hopes of forcing the nominee to give them something meaningful, like a Vice Presidential nominee.


Larry Becker said...

Agreed. Gingrich cannot be the GOP nominee. But the nominee could be "not Romney." Who is that? Mitch Daniels? Christie? I don't know. It would be messy and so much fun to watch.

William D. Adler said...

I'd be surprised if it went to the convention. It's one of those media fantasies that never really happens: "ooh, a brokered convention! whee!"

Larry Becker said...

Yeah, it isn't going to the convention. But Newt isn't going to be the nominee. So, if Newt wins Florida suggesting Romney just isn't catching on and Newt isn't going to be the nominee ... then what?

Enter Mitch Daniels ... or some such.

William D. Adler said...

Romney's all they've got. I can't see him throwing in the towel now and making way for another candidate. The establishment will fall in line behind Willard and try to bring Gingrich down.