This past week has been quite busy, and so, I wasn’t able to write this in the immediate aftermath of Super Tuesday, but it occurs to me–and to a whole host of other people as well–that critiques of Mitt Romney for not having been able to lock down the Republican presidential nomination just yet miss the mark.
This isn’t to claim that Romney’s campaign and candidate persona are not free from criticism. However, in the era of super PACs, the fact is that candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are able to persist and persevere, because wealthy donors are able to continue to fund and back them. Sheldon Adelson would not have been able to keep the Gingrich campaign afloat in the past the way that he does now. But because the rules regarding super PACs are what they are, Gingrich is able to lurch on, despite the fact that whatever rationale his campaign once had has now evaporated.
Additionally, the Republican party–in its infinite wisdom–decided to swing from a winner-take-all delegate allocation system, to a system in which delegate allocation is proportional. As such, despite the impressive number of wins Romney has put together, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul can remain in the race, and can continue to hope that they will be able to garner enough delegates to make themselves viable alternatives to Romney in the event that his campaign dramatically falls on its face in the near future.
There is, of course, absolutely nothing that Romney can do about this. Even if he were the world’s best candidate, running the world’s best campaign, he would have to deal with this frustrating political environment, and he would likely find it as maddening as he does now.
President Obama enjoys the luxury of having no Democratic challengers to his efforts to be renominated for re-election. And yet, his job approval is a disappointing 45%, and he trails both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum(!) in general election matchups. Which I guess explains all of the pandering.
Just out of curiosity, why isn’t a bigger deal being made about that?