It goes without saying (though my noting this does nothing to stop me from saying it anyway!) that just about everything I wrote about what to look for in the upcoming Presidential Primaries this coming Tuesday [24 April] back on 7 April has, pretty much, well gone out the proverbial "window" with the suspending of his presidential campaign by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum a few days thereafter.
Say what you will about Senator Santorum's candidacy, agree with him or not on the issues of the day, there is no question that said candidacy got quite a lot further into the than most anyone- including even myself! [;-)]- ever thought it would (that is: except for his most ardent admirers and/or supporters [although, and then again, a candidate's most ardent admirers and/or supporters always most fervently believe- about as much as they also so fervently hope- that their man, or woman, is going to "shock the world" and actually win). Much of this, as I have pointed out in my own writings for this website, was due- if only in part- to the failure of other present and/or erstwhile candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to gain the lion's share of what might fairly be described as the 'anti-Romney' voters: those who truly believe that former Governor Mitt Romney is, indeed, the quintessential "Massachusetts Moderate"- an unmitigated RINO in star-spangled "wrapping one's self in the American flag whilst holding a Bible [King James Version preferred] to one's breast" conservative clothing; but much of it was also due to the ability of Senator Santorum- seemingly better than those others, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich- to gain the support of more of these very voters than anyone else in the first place!
Now these same voters are, more or less, left to fall into one of two camps: those who, however resignedly (where not also rather begrudgingly), accept Governor Romney as the eventual 2012 GOP nominee for President and those who still cling to the notion that Romney's claiming of that very prize might yet- somehow, anyway- be stopped: if not before the Republican Convention meets in Tampa, then at that very Convention itself... in addition: into which group each such voter might so fall seems to be largely determined by just how much said voter honestly believes that Romney can, in fact, defeat President Barack Obama come this November.
It is this "readjustment"- shall we say- amongst these 'anti-Romney'ites (regardless of just which GOP presidential contender they otherwise, to this point, might support- or, at least, have supported: including Texas Congressman Ron Paul, still standing up beneath the rather tattered standard of the libertarian wing of the Grand Old Party and waving while shouting "C'mon down!" [all this while the major portion of the leadership cadre of the Republican Party US is already well stocking up on duct tape with which to gag Congressman Paul and his more ardent supporters come the Party's quadrennial fete as it rolls up against Tampa Bay this coming late August]) that we should all be watching as the returns from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island come in this coming Tuesday evening.
In that 7 April piece of mine, I opined that- with Senator Santorum still in the nomination race at that point- Governor Romney gaining at least 138 of the 209 Republican National Convention delegates (that is: some 2/3 of the total) up for grabs in Presidential Primaries on Tuesday 24 April was not all that out of the question...
but, with Rick Santorum effectively out of the race, the political dynamic on the Republican side has now changed--
simply put: Romney had better win at least 2/3 of those 209 delegates- and, perhaps, even then some!- come this Tuesday.
For the question is no longer 'can Mitt Romney win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination?'; rather, the question of moment is now 'how soon can Romney clinch that nomination?'
Thus, what we all should be looking for, more than anything else, this coming Tuesday- as well as beyond, for that matter- is whether or not a quintessential "protest vote" against Mitt Romney's apparently now-sure nomination might- despite the lack of a viable 'anti-Romney' candidate (Rick Santorum now being out, Newt Gingrich yet to show he can be that candidate and Ron Paul representing a specific minority wing of the Party that would generally be supporting Paul anyway)- still emerge in the remaining Republican delegate selection events and, if so, how much of one!
Tuesday 24 April becomes, then, something of the first real test as to just how much Romney has won- or even can win- over the hearts and minds of howsomany of the so far 'anti-Romney' Republican voters out there...
no, I am not so foolish to at all think that the vast majority of these 'anti-Romney' GOP voters are going to vote for Obama in the General Election... nor do I think said "vast majority" will end up voting for- say (despite the hopes, dreams and even prayers of this particular Third Party)- former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode, the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party, either!...
yet, at the same time, a presidential candidate of a challenging Major Party (that is: the Major Party not currently holding the White House) starts out from a position of much political weakness- rather than strength- where more than but a relative few of his own Party's voters are not wholeheartedly behind his candidacy come the Fall, even should they (more likely than not) vote for him in the General Election in any event!
Therefore: Mitt Romney failing to well "pile up" delegates- in both the "soft" and "hard" counts on this website- bound/pledged to Republican presidential contenders in these Presidential Primaries held this coming Tuesday in such 'Romney-friendly' territory as is New England and the Middle Atlantic region would be a most telling sign that he still has much work to do, within his own Party (putting aside his already openly sparring with President Obama) in the four months to follow leading up to the Republican National Convention itself...
and the former Bay State Governor's success or failure in this regard also will, so obviously, determine just what I might have to write in my next Commentary for The Green Papers.