Let me say at the start Santorum’s victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri are not game-changers in themselves, and being rather emotional beauty-contests with no delegate impact were probably more appealing to the core of Republican conservatism than to the mainstream Republicans (in name only?), more likely to vote for the Mormon guy.
On the other hand, this kind of contests – without too much money being spent, or better said without Romney outspending Santorum by a big multiple – are probably better apt to show what happens when no one can outspend his opponent 10 or 20 to one, which is what is going to happen in November.
Still, I continue to have conflicting feelings about Santorum’s successes. On the one hand, I can only look with great pleasure at the rise of this still relatively young politician, a man who seems to have the stuff to become the Reagan of the next decade and must be the ideal candidate of most readers of this blog. On the other hand, I cannot imagine Obama’s advisors being displeased at his rise, as they know they cannot wish a better chance to lead Obama to victory than if he should run against a man, I am not sorry to say, so out of line with the superficial cafeteria, John-Lennon-light, “whatever”-thinking of a great part of the electorate. I can’t imagine a country falling in love with “change” only four years ago and suddenly embracing the tenets of staunch Catholics and evangelicals, a sector with which Santorum will be extremely closely identified, courtesy of the Obama campaign. But I have said all this, and will not dwell on it.
What is perhaps more interesting, is that the decline of the winner-takes-all primaries system makes who “wins” the single contest less relevant. If you look at the delegates count you’ll notice Santorum and Gingrich together continue to have more delegates than Romney; this basically means today’s favourite is, in fact, still not Romney but the one between Gingrich and Santorum who will remain longer in the race, unavoidably attracting the delegates of the other and becoming the official, erm, Christian and Republican candidate.
Another element I notice for today is that Republican core voters seem not to miss any occasion – however symbolic – to send the clear message Romney is not their candidate. Encouraging, though not necessarily positive if they end up with a factually unelectable candidate; but I might be wrong of course, and after Carter came Reagan.
Last but not least, there seems to be a clear indication Gingrich suffers among the female voters. They’ll be happier with the Mormon or the abortionist, I suppose.