It’s not every year I get what I want for Christmas, but this season is looking pretty good. After watching the 33rd Republican debate this evening I’m extraordinarily optimistic that the GOP is going to tie itself into knots well into 2013 over who it’s nominee will be. And, as an extra-special “I must have been a REALLY good boy” present, there’s a fair chance that at the end of the melee, the last one standing will be…Newt Gingrich.
Oh, please, please, please. I promise I’ll walk him and feed him and you won’t have to do anything!
Newt Gingrich as a nominee would make Nixon/McGovern, Johnson/Goldwater, Bush/Dukakis and Reagan/Mondale all look like cliffhangers. Watching him tonight twist and turn on the spit of the legal definition of “lobbying” was as much fun as watching Bill Clinton try to parse “is.” And, that’s just the easy stuff.
But…I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up. Santa told me I won’t get everything on my list. I’ll be happy with a long, drawn-out primary season.
Romney is toast in Iowa, especially after tonight’s debate where he failed – didn’t even try, really – to knock Gingrich off-stride. That means he’s coming out of Iowa 3rd or maybe even 4th. If he’s lucky, he’ll win New Hampshire – barely. He’ll get kicked again in South Carolina but – unless he’s collapsed completely – he’s got a firewall in Florida. That gets us through the end of January with a grand total of – wait for it – 115 delegates awarded.
It takes 1,144 delegates to get the nomination.
The earliest somebody could claim the nomination is mid-March but realistically it will be much later because all of the state contests in March award delegates proportionately (versus winner-take-all). That means we could get to April or even May with nobody having a clear majority of delegates. By the end of March, when 1,325 delegates will have been awarded, we could have one candidate with 600 or so (let’s say Romney), another at 400 (Gingrich) and some others splitting up the rest (Paul with a couple hundred, Perry with some).
After March, though, the contests include winner-take-all events so it could wrap up in April if somebody gets some momentum. Or…it could go on until May or…the Holy Grail of American politics…take us to a brokered convention in August in Tampa. Unlikely in the extreme, but possible.
Just what I’d love under my tree.
PS – Correction: not all Republican primaries and caucuses are winner-take-all after April 1; they’re just prohibited in March.