Sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland, and D.C., former Gov. Mitt Romney seems to have finally secured his title as “inevitable” GOP persidential nominee. Most analysts saw Wisconsin—where former Sen, Rick Santorum at one point challenged Romney in the polls—as the last place Romney’s rivals could throw a wrench into his campaign machine. Winning solidly in Wisconsin by 5 percentage points over Santorum, Romney seems to finally be gaining the confidence of the conservatives who initially resisted his candidacy, even though Santorum has vowed to stay in the race.
But that doesn’t mean Romney will be coasting into November’s general election against Obama. Many argue that the extended primary has hurt Romney as a national candidate, as he has weathered some nasty blows from a series of “non-Romney” challengers, and he has been forced to take extremely conservative positions in order to woo the far-right pocket of the Republican electorate. Others insist that the general election is a whole new race, and it’s Obama who should be worrying about the past and his record as president. However, when a top Romney adviser characterized the campaign’s shift from the primary to general election as to being like an Etch A Sketch, or a slate that can be wiped clean, both Democrats and Republicans pounced on him, showing that this transition might not be so easy. Have the drawn-out primaries crippled Mitt Romney’s chances against President Obama? Here is the Debate Club’s take:
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College
Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference
Michael Marshall Policy Adviser and Communications Director to former Sen. Bob Dole
Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and former Democratic nominee for Congress