Does Romney Need to Win Today in Michigan?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spent more blood and treasure than any other candidate in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but he came in second in both states. Today, in Michigan, where his father George was once a popular Governor, he needs a win. Romney has the money to continue in the race whether he wins today or not. And, he plans to do so, at least through "Tsunami Tuesday" on February 5th when 21 states hold primaries nationwide. But, while he could survive a loss to, say, Duncan Hunter or Ron Paul, it is far less certain he can survive the momentum that John McCain or Mike Huckabee would gain from a win in Michigan. Both McCain and Huckabee have a strong shot in South Carolina next week and would benefit from the momentum of a Michigan win. Back-to-back wins in Michigan and South Carolina would have a huge effect on the winner-take-all primary in Florida the following week. Then, it is on to Tsunami Tuesday. If Romney does win, it is not clear where he goes next for a win. The evangelicals in South Carolina are not likely to be more hospitable than the evangelicals in Iowa were. But, the Mormon issue has not been Romney’s principle problem. His flip-flops on issues near and dear to the Republican base like abortion and gay rights, his blow-dried hair and his blow-dried speeches, the lack of gravitas, these are what account for Romney’s failure to connect with the electorate. Oddly enough, the principal beneficiary of a Romney win might be Rudy Giuliani, whose campaign’s strategy has been to essentially ignore the early states and focus on Florida and Tsunami Tuesday. He needs to have a multiple candidate field still in the race for the next month. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all vote on Feb. 5, and all have winner-take-all primaries, so it is quite possible that if Giuliani performs reasonably in the rest of the nation, on Feb. 6, the headline could read "Giuliani in lead for delegates." Still, Giuliani’s strategy remains highly suspect, as his plummeting national poll numbers indicate. It was a mistake not to contest New Hampshire, a state with precisely the kind of libertarian credo that should have been friendly soil for Giuliani’s message. A Huckabee or McCain win in Michigan will not only sink Romney, it will sink Rudy. By 10 p.m. tonight, the GOP race should be a whole lot clearer than it is this morning. Michael Sean Winters
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.