Iowa: Another View of the Romney “Win”
At the composing of this column, there is actually some discussion about the final tally of this past week’s Iowa caucuses. Regardless of the final outcome, it’s not going to have an impact on these observations.
So, did Mitt Romney really win on Tuesday, January 3rd, in Iowa? No. It was a decisive loss, in my view. The Romney campaign, and his Super PAC surrogates, spent millions and could not garner a majority of the votes.
Yet, it would be erroneous to label the second-place finisher, Rick Santorum, as the winner. The “winner” is some obscure candidate blowing in the idealistic wind of our collective imagination as true conservatives.
The “What If…”
The United States presidential primary process is quite a unique creature. When it comes to selecting the nominees for president of the nation’s political parties, it seems to eliminate a election component that most of us are very familiar with. The runoff election.
Now, what if the statewide caucus in Iowa had the complete process that we understand to be the norm for just about any other office in the land? Mitt Romney would then be facing a runoff election at some predetermined date in the near future to truly come to a conclusive victor. The runoff would be between the first and second place finishers. The number one candidate did not receive 50% of the votes cast. The runoff would pit Romney versus Rick Santorum.
Let’s Engage in Fantastic Speculation
The runoff election means that every other candidate would be eliminated – they have concretely lost. So, say goodbye to: Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, and Perry. Where would their supporters go on that predetermined day for the runoff election?
In 2008, Mitt Romney earned 25% of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses. In 2012, Gov. Romney couldn’t do any better. Any casual observer of the GOP primary process and the barrage of polls can easily see that Romney appears to have a ceiling of support – 25% and pretty much no higher. I would opine, with great confidence, that 75% of GOP primary voters find it difficult to cast a vote for Mitt Romney – regardless of which candidate they initially supported.
Therefore, we have the right to make the reasonable assumption that if the fictitious runoff was held, that an avalanche of voters would stand against the candidacy of Mitt Romney and Mr. Santorum would prevail as the victor.
But the GOP primary contest is wacky. It’s a plus that for this cycle the assignment of delegates has mainly turned to being proportional from state to state. I envision a long, marathon primary this time around. It will be interesting to see the process play out with the new rules, a breather in February, and with only God knowing when the Texas primary will be held. I see the potential for even a brokered convention down in Florida. You talk about hand-to-hand combat!
In regards to Iowa, can Mitt Romney really claim victory? This thing is far from over!