Right before voting in South Carolina, Rick Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich. The timming was perfect, and Perry — who at that point had no chance to win the nomination — did the next best thing: he stopped Romney from getting it. His endorsement provided manpower, money, and momentum for Newt and made a big difference. Newt was not able to close the deal in Florida; had he won Florida he would be the nominee. Since his FL loss, Newt has only won 1 state, his home state. Newt’s won 2 states. At this point, Newt has no realistic chance to win any state. Further, because of the winner-take-all system in many states and districts, Newt staying in the race actually would give more delegates to Romney. The few delegates Newt wins from proportional states will be less than the delegates he takes from Santorum from winner-take-all states. That is the math.
A will-timed Newt endorsement for Santorum would have a major boost for Santorum. In exchange Newt could easily negotiate any deal (short of being VP), and could have a big seat at the table should Santorum win.
Let’s look, however, at what would happen if Gingrich stays in. Gingrich would find himself losing ground on many fronts. First, it would spell the end of his political career at any level. Losing doesn’t help; losing badly hurts. Second, Newt would find it much harder to generate speaking fees and other income. He will become marginalized — like Ron Paul — by running when he has no real chance. Third, he will have missed a big chance.
Finally, Romney has an almost impossible path to winning an election against Obama. Romney would need to win Ohio and Virginia. I could see Romney winning FL. But Ohio and Virginia are tough states for him.
In the case of Virginia, Ron Paul got 41% of the vote against Romney. Ron Paul is an anti-federalist, who is in a different world than everyone else. Newt Gingrich may want us to form a colony on the moon; but Ron Paul is already there.
Romney has no viable chance in Virginia. Unlike Santorum, Romney is extremely weak with religious conservatives. The blue-collar socially conservative new-deal liking rurual Virginia Reagan Democrats are only a few percent of voters in VA. However, those are Santorum voters in a general election against Obama. That are Obama voters against Romney. Those voters vote like West Virginia voters. Their loss will be 1-2% of the vote. The big loss, about 18% of the vote is civilian federal government employees and thier wives/husbands. Santorum looks to lose them. However, he could turn things around with those voters. Romney has lost them. Romney’s private sector experience, his stated policy plans, and his multiple speechs regaring government employees has alienated them from him; and alienated them from the GOP at-large. Romney would lose Virginia, and take the Senate seat with him. Federal employees may only be 2% of the population, but they are concentrated in Virginia (and to a lesser degree in some swing states due to how politics work). 295,000 of them are in Virginia, and Romney has said they are overpaid by 30 – 40%. If someone ran on the idea of cutting your pay by 30 – 40%, you would not vote for them. They got a 10% pay cut with Obama, and don’t like him. But, Romney is simply unelectable in Virginia.
Ohio is another state where Santorum would do better. Romney supported the legislation against state employee unions. In my opinion the legislation was reasonable and I was surprised that it was so unpopular. I expected a closer vote. The vote on it, however, had 62% of Ohio voting to repeal the legislation. Romney’s claim that teachers, police, fire, rescue, etc are overpaid hurts him. Romney has thus-far argued that auto workers are overpaid, private sector union workers are overpaid, state employees are overpaid, and federal employees are over paid. When he ran a company, he cut pay. He has a horrible record in terms of being able to attrack working class voters. I spoke in 2008 with someone who had meet Romney back in Romney’s days at Bain Capital. At the time, Romney had a gold pen. He came off as full of himself. Romney still gives that impression to voters.
Reagan had morning in American and a city on a hill. George HW Bush had 1,000 points of light. Bill Clinton felt our pain. George Bush was a compassionate conservative. Obama had hope. Romney’s stump speech and ideas are directly opposed to those ideas. In Mitt Romney’s vision: he sees an America were salaries are cut, benefits are reduced, and where the federal government grows. Never has anyone won a race running for president arguing that people should have less money. Mondale tried it and lost. Romney’s stated policy plans of cutting salaries and benefits is a losing platform.
Romney will have a hard time in Ohio. Santorum has never come out saying that we need to cut pay for private sector workers or for state employees. He could more easily — in a general election — turn and take possitions that are winnable. He can talk about how manufacturing jobs are good and we should promote them. Manufacturing jobs are largely union jobs. Santorum can win those blue-collar union workers; and can win many votes from teachers, police, and firemen who Romney has no shot with.
The wealthy folks who do not want their taxes raised will vote GOP. The GOP base will vote GOP. The folks we need if we are to win an election are better attracted with Santorum than Romney.
Newt has this one chance to help beat Obama by his supporting Rick Santorum.