Diary

Should Santorum stay in the race?

Fresh off a third place finish in South Carolina will Rick Santorum march on or hang it up? That of course is the next big question.

I suspect he will stay in at least through Florida and here’s why: He essentially has no incentive to get out at this point. With the Newt Gingrich lead demolition of Mitt “Glass Jaw” Romney in South Carolina, it is clear that the race is beginning to both jell and accelerate. When Rick Perry stepped aside it seems to have lit a fuse that has forced voters to get serious.

As a result Ron Paul is beginning to fade and should have a diminishing effect from this point forward. In South Carolina Gingrich and Santorum got roughly 58% of the vote which is a landslide for conservatives and I now believe that barring some sort of cataclysmic event the 2012 GOP nominee will be one of those two men.

Over the next 7-10 days look for voters to start moving decisively for Gingrich and to a lesser extent Santorum. Romney will likely hang on to his establishment/moderate support which is around 20%.  If Newt can win Florida, especially if he wins by a margin close to South Carolina,  then Rick Santorum will probably have to give it up. However if Gingrich were to blow a gasket and crash to earth, then I would expect to see Santorum reap the benefit as the last Non-Romney standing.

I don’t believe Mitt Romney can win. He has never really been the front-runner. He’s just been the nominee the party establishment supported so in a fractured field he seemed more important than he really ever was.  His record is wrong, he has no core that anyone has ever seen, and he is a stiff and plastic candidate who utterly lacks the ability to connect with average people.

A final thought is this: If the party establishment concludes that Romney cannot win, will he be pressured to stand aside as the old guard searches for a “new” candidate? The month of February looms ahead and it should be interesting.