Some people may think it is crazy to hold out hope that John McCain can be defeated. I liken it to the NFL when a much maligned 7-4 team had little hope of getting to the Superbowl in early December 2007. But they pulled off a few wins on the road at the end of the year and the mediocre team suddenly had a wild card spot. From there it was just four wins to the Superbowl championship against the only 18-0 undefeated team in NFL history.
If Huckabee wins Texas, then he suddenly becomes the New York Giants of the world of politics. Texas wins him a wild card spot. Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico are his playoff games and the Republican Convention is his Superbowl.
I thought that in order for Mike Huckabee to have continued his unlikely march toward destiny yesterday, he needed at least an upset win in Virginia. But as soon as he lost in single digits, the news pundits were already saying it proved that John McCain is “not conservative enough” for most Republican voters.
Here was my hopeful prediction on how Huckabee could have pulled out a win:
And here was the final vote:
So while Virginia dampens the hope for a brokered convention, Huckabee still finished three points better than the most favorable poll predicted.
So is it all over? There is still a possibility for a brokered convention. Since Huckabee lost Virginia and Maryland, he just has to pick up wins in two or three states with an equal amount of delegates. Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon, New Mexico are possibilities. A recent poll shows Huckabee within striking distance of upsetting McCain in Wisconsin.
A couple of factors weigh toward Huckabee’s favor:
1. Low voter turn-out due to a lessening enthusiasm for McCain. The thought that he has it “wrapped up” actually works in Huckabee’s favor. The Clinton-Obama drama drew close to three times the number of voters in Virginia. Look for this to continue in open primary states. The “Anybody-But-Hillary” Republicans are crossing over to vote for Obama. McCain loses votes each time the attention swings to Obama vs Hillary.
2. Ron Paul has suspended his campaign in order to seek re-election as a Texas representative. But Paul’s supporters are tenacious and he still will pull in some votes. It is possible that the “Anybody But McCain” coalition could unite behind Huckabee and he could gain a percentage point or two from Paul’s supporters. Others will stay home. They didn’t come out in Virginia in the numbers I expected. On the other hand, a few diehard Paul supporters still hold out hope. Some may think that a vote for Huckabee is a vote for a brokered convention.
Texas is a must win for both candidates. McCain needs Texas to wrap up the nomination sooner than later. If McCain takes Texas, then it’s over. Texas will be Huckabee’s “last stand.” Campaign contributions shot up after last week’s big wins and guess where he’s spending most of this money? But if Huckabee takes Texas, then it gets interesting again. After March 4, most of the contests swing toward Huckabee’s natural territory.
Here’s the revamped scenario for a brokered convention. I’ll continue to track the mathematical possibility of blocking McCain — as crazy and quixotic as it may seem to some. The blue states can still go to McCain, but Huckabee needs to take all the red states and two or three of the purple states.
Red states are “must wins” for Huckabee.
Blues states are likely to go to McCain.
Purple states — Huckabee needs two or three of these
STATE—————- DATE ———- DELEGATES—- WINNER
Virginia ————02/12———- 63 W ———- McCain
Maryland————-02/12———- 37 C ———- McCain
D.C.——————-02/12———- 19 WC ——— McCain
Puerto Rico———02/24 ——— 23
Ohio ——————03/04 ——— 88
Rhode Island——-03/04———- 20
Vermont—————03/04———- 17 W
Pennsylvania——-03/22———- 74 C
Virgin Islands—-04/04———— 9
North Carolina—-05/06———- 69
Hawaii—————-05/16———- 20 C
Kentucky————-05/20———- 45 C
Oregon—————-05/20———- 30 C
New Mexico ———05/03———- 32 C
South Dakota——-06/03———- 27 C
W: Winner take all
C: Closed primary
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