It is blazingly obvious that barring some unbelievable catastrophe–and by “unbelievable catastrophe,” I don’t mean “a couple of losses in upcoming primary and caucus contests”–Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. He has more delegates than do all of the other candidates combined, and he won my home state big (click on the map for results from Illinois). He. Is. Going. To. Be. The. Nominee. Those who try to deny it with the typical “I’m not sure the Republican party really likes him” explanation–which is growing weaker by the contest–or who try to posit that we are in for a brokered convention, are really only kidding themselves at this point.
As such, it is now supremely advisable for Republicans to fall in line behind Romney’s candidacy, and to pledge to back it to the hilt. It is all but mathematically impossible for any other candidate to get the delegates necessary to win the nomination. To do so, a single candidate would have to run the table in every upcoming contest, and we know that is not going to happen. The Santorum, Paul and Gingrich efforts have gone from being campaigns to being exercises in vanity and ego, and quite frankly, the Republican party had better be ready to remember with a distinct lack of fondness any effort on the part of any person to keep distracting vanity projects going. Such projects only serve to undermine party unity, and to make it easier for Barack Obama to win the general election.
The Republican nominating contest is effectively over. I am sure that there are those who want to pretend that it isn’t, because the possibility of a prolonged nomination fight, and a potential brokered convention makes for a good story. But it is now emphatically clear that the reality is quite different.