I know for a fact this primary season is now officially dragging along when I asked myself the following question Tuesday night: Should I watch John King at the CNN delegate wall or should I watch NCIS on CBS?
It has come to that.
Unless Rick Santorum can win in a state that Romney is expected to win in then, this race seems close to over. Santorum and Gingrich may potentially prevent Romney from getting to 1,144 delegates but that’s only half the battle. They also need to make a convincing case that they should be the nominee. Beating Romney in New Jersey or California would send a strong signal in that direction, though that doesn’t seem likely to happen.
The bottom line question is this: Where is Santorum’s game changing moment? He’ll probably win Louisiana and if he wins Wisconsin, that will be a mini-tremor. But after that the primary calendar looks extremely daunting for him.
As for Romney, the guy and his campaign are a machine. But let me remind everyone about something very important. Romney has NOT courted evangelicals and the Tea Party, yet he’s winning the primary battle. It hasn’t hurt him because both groups are split among different candidates.
But in the General Election, the Romney campaign should NOT take evangelicals for granted. Sure many of those evangelical supporters of Santorum and Gingrich will hold their nose and vote for Romney, but they probably won’t bring an evangelical friend and won’t organize for him either. Romney will need evangelical and Tea Party fervor in the fall campaign if he makes it there, but there’s NO guarantee that they will be there for him in droves.
That’s what happens when you virtually ignore them. He’s not paying attention to them now and in the fall they may return the favor. The General Election will probably be a close one and won at the margins. A standard evangelical turnout won’t do the trick for Romney. He needs them to turn out in spades.