Debate Club

There's No One Who Could Topple Mitt Romney

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In a sane nomination system, we would never ask this question when the leading candidate has won just seven firm delegates (delegates are not allocated at the precinct level in Iowa) out of 1,144 needed for the nomination. Doing the math, that means former Gov. Mitt Romney has won just 0.6 percent of what he needs to secure the nomination—with 99.4 percent to go!

But alas, we do not have a sane nomination system, so the answer is a barely qualified no—nothing can stop Mitt Romney. Every eventual candidate in the modern era but one—Bill Clinton—won at least one of the first two races in Iowa and New Hampshire (and Clinton claimed a moral "Comeback Kid" victory in the Granite State). And no one who has swept the first two races has ever been denied the nomination. That accomplishment alone makes Romney the prohibitive favorite.

[See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

Indeed, with six candidates standing, one has to ask who could topple Romney at this point? It looks increasingly obvious that South Carolina will be the last stand for former Gov, Jon Huntsman and Gov. Rick Perry, and Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich do not have the ground game necessary to prosecute this campaign much beyond Florida. Rep. Ron Paul will do what Ron Paul does best, but it will not halt Romney, who has both the money and the organization to go the distance (which may not be much beyond January 31).

The only thing that could derail Romney at this point would be some sort of Internet-era self-inflicted wound—perhaps YouTube footage of Romney kicking little dogs and cats, or some other egregious sin that calls into question his basic electability.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney.]

But don't count on it. The laws of politics may not be as precise as the laws of physics, but the importance of national poll strength, fundraising, and key endorsements has been known for some time. Someday someone will break the rules and win the nomination despite poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire—but not this year.

Which makes the presidential nomination the only race that can be won with less than 1 percent of the distance traveled.

David Crockett

About David Crockett Author of 'Running Against the Grain: How Opposition Candidates Win Presidential Elections'

Tags
Romney, Mitt
2012 presidential election
campaigns
Republican Party
primaries

Other Arguments

#3
11 Pts
Mitt Romney's Wins Come From Every Part of GOP Base

No – Mitt Romney's Wins Come From Every Part of GOP Base

Rob Collins Former Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Eric Cantor

#4
8 Pts
Mitt Romney Is Looking Past the Primaries

No – Mitt Romney Is Looking Past the Primaries

Fergus Cullen Former Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party

#5
7 Pts
Race Will Be a Major Issue for Mitt Romney

Yes – Race Will Be a Major Issue for Mitt Romney

Simon Rosenberg President and Founder of NDN

#6
6 Pts
Only Barack Obama Can Stop Mitt Romney

Yes – Only Barack Obama Can Stop Mitt Romney

Krystal Ball Former Democratic Nominee for Congress

#7
1 Pts
A Forward-Looking Mitt Romney Can Seal the Deal in Next Primaries

No – A Forward-Looking Mitt Romney Can Seal the Deal in Next Primaries

Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference

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