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

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.

On this week's episode, we talk with Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib.
Olga SeguraMay 25, 2018