Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What if Santorum Wins?

We will know soon enough who win have garnered the most votes in Iowa. The winner will be among Santorum, Paul, and Romney. So what if Santorum wins? Will Santorum be the Mike Huckabee of 2012? Will Santorum, who seemingly does not have the organization to really win the outright nomination against Romney stay in and siphon off enough votes in future caucuses from one of tonight's second tier candidates to ensure Romney wins the nomination?

Mike Huckabee was a surprise winner of Iowa in 2008. This gave him enough confidence and cash to continue his campaign. Instead of the "not McCain" vote coalescing around one candidate and forging a close battle, Huckabee refused to leave the race even after the last "not McCain" candidate dropped out. Huckabee ensured a flawed "Maverick" was resurrected and won the nomination. An unenthusiastic McCain then went on to lose in convincing style. My Question is, will Santorum stay in the race even if there is no real chance to win the nomination?

I fully expect at least 4 candidates to leave Iowa and perhaps 5. I expect Bachmann to drop out tomorrow or Thursday and endorse one of the other candidates. From Perry's interview on Fox, I fully expect if he finishes 5th to drop out no later than after the New Hampshire primary. Even though Perry is not really going to New Hampshire, I think that race will have lead to too much momentum for Romney and whoever finishes higher between Gingrich and Santorum. This leads me to believe that Gingrich will be the "not Romney" last man standing. Santorum or Gingrich need to drop out after Florida. Whichever is higher in delegates after Florida need to drop out so the "not Romney" is able to coalesce around a singular candidate. Romney is stuck around 25% of support. Sure he will garner support from some of the other candidates but I don't think it will get him much more than 40% of support. The Republican party now needs more than ever to get this down to a two man race. I do not believe Romney can win in a two man race. Ron Paul is staying in the race but will not win. Ron Paul will not help or hurt Romney or the "Not Romney" candidate.

Santorum regardless of his finish in Iowa, needs to drop out as soon as he realizes he can't win. Santorum is going to bear a tremendous amount of scrutiny in the next couple of weeks and I fully expect that he will drop in the polls rather quickly. Remember he, like Huckabee in 2008, almost moved and lived in Iowa for the last year. Santorum is now in position to play spoiler to a candidate that will be able to match Romney and perhaps beat Romney in the race.

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