After crunching all the numbers in my entry entitled, Is John McCain the inevitable nominee? I got an email yesterday saying Mitt Romney had dropped out of the race. Romney said he would endorse McCain if he won the nomination.
Romney cited the “War on Terror” as a reason why he could not continue to try to forestall the nomination process and throw the GOP into a brokered convention. In reality though, the reason he dropped out is that in a three man race most of the remaining delegates are likely to go to McCain or Huckabee.
Key battle ground states for Romney would have been Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Idaho, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. He simply could not have picked up enough delegates in the southern states with Huckabee in the race. In fact, there isn’t a single contest where Romney would have been a sure winner. Maybe Idaho and South Dakota?
Huckabee supporters now need to promote the following strategy.
1. Convince enough Romney voters to support Huckabee giving him a sizeable win in at least 11 of the upcoming primaries.
2. Promote the idea among McCain’s supporters that the nomination is all wrapped up creating a sense of apathy to the point where many will stay home on primary day.
3. Promote the idea that since the nomination is probably all wrapped up for McCain, non-conservative Republicans in open primary states ought to vote for Obama to block another Clinton era in the White House.
Here’s the rationale for this strategy.
With about 700 delegates in his column and 1,008 still to be chosen, McCain still needs to pick up 491 delegates in the remining state primaries to get to the magic number of 1,191. Simple math tells us that that he needs just to recoup 40 percent of the remaining delegates. Huckabee would have to win well over 500 of these remaining 1,008 delegates to block a majority for McCain.
Is it inevitable? Can Huckabee pull off one of the greatest political upsets of all time and defeat McCain? Although it’s not very probably it is possible. It would be on the level of a baseball team taking four straight games to win a World Series after being down 0-3. It a phenomenon that happens every 100 years or so.
Here’s a few things to consider:
1. Huckabee does not have to win 60 percent of the votes, but only the plurality in enough states to take enough delegates away from McCain to keep him from the majority.
2. The most likely scenario in which this could occur would be in outright wins in the following states: Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississipi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Idaho, South Dakota, and Texas.
If he won these states decisively and picked up a few delegates in some others with a strong second place showing, he could get around 550 delegates, which would bring his total to over 700. That would effectively block a majority for McCain.
3. Huckabee would then need to convince the state parties whose primary voters went for Romney, that he is the more conservative choice over McCain. It’s not a hard case to make. He could do it simply by choosing Romney as a runnning mate.
For now the key is to forestall McCain’s nomination by winning in Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississipi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Idaho, South Dakota, and Texas.
Can it be done?
It’s amazing to me that conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh were practically begging Huckabee to drop out of the race so that Romney would have a chance on Super Tuesday. Yet now that Romney is out, Huckabee is seen to have no chance.
But he does have a chance and here is why.
McCain supporters are going to stay home in droves thinking the nomination is wrapped up. Some Romney supporters will either switch to Huckabee or stay home. An even more startling development could be that in open primary states, the “Anybody-but-Hillary” Republicans will choose the Democrat ballot and vote for Barack Hussein Obama.
Lousiania and Kansas are holding closed primaries tomorrow, but in Washington state an open primary ballot opportunity may convince conservative Republicans to cast a protest vote for Obama.
If tomorrow’s primaries show a trend in this direction, there may be a snowball effect and we will have a race again.
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