Friday, March 16, 2012

The Case for Newt Staying in the Race and Potentially Winning

I've been thinking a lot about this and I think there is a strong case for Newt to stay in the race. By staying in, he is probably hurting Romney, he is bringing important issues to the fore that only he can talk about in an educated and convincing fashion and, who knows, he could win (though it is very much a longshot).

Let's start with the first argument. So far, the only argument you can make for Newt to get out is that he is "splitting the conservative vote" and helping Romney get the nomination. But I'm really starting to think that the opposite may in fact be true and he is hurting Romney's campaign for 1,144 delegates by staying in (Scott Conroy's great piece helped convince me of this). When you first think about it, the "vote splitting" argument does make sense but it relies on a premise which is probably invalid, it assumes that a candidate's delegates are only his and there will be no alliances in the future where two camps get together. What has become clear is that at some point Newt and Santorum will have to join forces in order to stop Romney. So any delegates that Newt is taking from Santorum today, will likely return to Santorum later (assuming he continues to be the leading "not-Romney", you can make the same logical argument for Santorum staying in if Newt gets the lead again). And on top of those, Santorum will be getting Newt delegates that would otherwise go to Romney or Paul if Newt is not in the race. There are quite a few economic conservatives who are really turned off by Santorum's whiny preachiness and would rather go with someone not so extreme on social issues. Estimates are that a full 27% of Newt voters would go to Romney and another 16% will go to Paul. And if you assume that Ron Paul will inevitably team up with Romney at the convention (which is probably a fair assumption given their obvious collusion at the debates) that means that a full 43% of Newt voters might end up supporting Romney's delegate count. In other words, with Newt out, Santorum's vote count will only include those that prefer Santorum to the other candidates. With Newt in, assuming an ultimate combination, Santorum's vote count will still include those that prefer him, as well as some people who would have otherwise gone to Romney and Paul. This will help keep Romney from locking in the nomination with 1,144 delegates and also increase the chances that Santorum overtakes Romney's total delegate count, which would be important even if Santorum is short of 1,144.

Of course, this argument doesn't really take into account the fact that many states have 15% thresholds and so if Newt doesn't get higher than that in those states he actually gets zero delegates and all those Santorum votes will eventually be lost, hurting the not-Romney conservative campaign. Also, there is nothing that binds delegates to deals made at the convention. Just because Newt himself has called on his delegates to go with Santorum doesn't mean they actually have to go to Santorum. They can do whatever they want. Hopefully, the Newt campaign has picked people who are loyal enough that they will at least give him the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, I still think the only argument for Newt to get out is probably not correct and net/net, he will be hurting Romney when all the votes are counted.

The second argument is that, among the candidates, only Newt seems to be able to latch on to the important issues of the day that ordinary Americans care about and speak about them in an educated and convincing manner. While Santorum is talking about pornography and contraception and Romney is stuttering his way through another explanation of Romneycare, Newt is talking about $2.50 gas. He even was able to force Obama to respond, essentially forcing Obama to debate when he clearly didn't want to. Not bad for the #3 candidate in a primary race huh? Having Newt out there constantly hammering away at the important issues and pointing out the flaws in the administration's logic is an invaluable service and helps the conservatives whether or not he is the eventual nominee.

The final argument is simple, Newt can still win. Sure, the chances are miniscule and are not something I would bet on. But I am from Massachusetts originally and the chances that Doug Flutie completed that Hail Mary pass to beat Miami were slim too. Here is what really needs to happen for Newt to win:

1. There HAS to be a brokered convention. Newt understands this already so I'm not saying anything new here, but I think there needs to be a change in strategy among Newt supporters. Recently, target #1 has been Santorum for obvious reasons, he is stealing voters who would otherwise go for Newt. But by attacking Santorum relentlessly, Newt supporters are actually helping Romney's vote totals as some Santorum supporters are turing to Mittens (who also happens to be attacking Santorum). This reduces the chances of Newt ever becoming the nominee since it brings Romney closer to getting to 1,144 and if we don't get a brokered convention, Newt is through. Done. Newt is sacked and there will be no hail mary pass. Newt supporters should keep picking away at Santorum, as the more votes for Newt the better, but the main focus of our ire should be Romney. It just doesn't do us any good if we destroy Santorum and Romney coasts to the nomination.

2. Newt needs to attract independent support. I'm sure you're thinking that he can worry about independents later, that he first needs to get the Republican nomination. I disagree. I think attracting independents will help him get the nomination whether or not they vote in the actual primaries. First, many people are voting for Romney because he is viewed as most "electable" which basically just means he is most attractive to independent voters. In the Ohio exit polls, 42% of voters said that electability was the most important candidate quality and 52% of those voters went for Romney. If Newt can steal some of this vote, this could do wonders for him and would help steal delegates from Romney, increasing the chances of a brokered convention. Which brings me to my next point, being more attractive to independent voters will also help Newt win a brokered convention scenario. Let's say the convention is deadlocked between Romney and Santorum, what would be the incentive for them to suddenly choose Newt? He needs to be the most electable candidate. If he continues to poll third in the head to head polls vs. Obama, he has zero chance. I realize polls can be wrong but people listen to them and there is no incentive for them to choose the person the polls say is the "worst" candidate. There will be about 10 weeks between the convention and election day, the bigger the deficit the greater the chance that the GOP candidate loses.

Newt is great at throwing red meat to conservative voters but what he needs to do now is find something to attract the independents. Gasoline sure helps as everyone understands that issue. Perhaps also differentiating himself with Santorum on social issues would work, obviously that isn't very hard. He should probably say stuff like "I am pro-life and believe marriage should be between a man and a woman but I think otherwise, the government should stay out of the bedroom. For as we know, government usually doesn't stop where you want them to stop. If you get them into your bedroom they also start going after your wallet". Something like that anyway. A pro-life libertarian argument could probably work wonders and attract quite a bit of support. If Newt comes across as the most reasonable, the most experienced and the most electable candidate, he could still win this.

3. Newt just needs to keep doing what he is doing in terms of his campaign events, focusing on the issues and making some of the best speeches of this cycle. He can't let attacks from any quarter get him off his game like Romney was able to do in Florida. In 1920, Warren G. Harding came in 6th in the first round of balloting with 6.7% of the delegates. It wasn't until the 7th round of balloting that he even broke through 10% of the delegates (he got 10.7% in that round). Eventually, people got really tired of the deadlock and decided on Harding as a compromise candidate, who won in the 10th round of voting and the general election. Now it is hard to be a compromise candidate if you've pissed off the other camps. So Newt just needs to continue to stay positive and try to ruffle as few feathers as possible. I know that is difficult in this race, which has become very personal, but that could be the key to him winning.

Here's to hoping.


I'm one of Newt's supporters that would never go to Romney. He's a liar and we already have one in the White House now.

I think another thing that might work in Newt's favor is the ruling on ObamaCare which could affect Romney's candidacy if he hasn't been nominated by then. Here is an article in the Washington Times I thought was good

I will keep my fingers crossed for Newt and hope things work out.

Thanks for posting your thoughts.

Nice article. Thanks for the link!

That was much need positive headline for the Newt. Appreciated. Are you the alter ego of politijim or is this Good Cop/Bad Cop played on the followers

Santorum claims economy is improving and GOP losing its edge.

So, Rick concedes the economy to Obama and health care to Romney.

This, after using robo-calls to Dems urging them to vote for him in Alabama and Mississippi. Exist polling proved it.

Now, Satorum says that he cannot win the nomination outright and has to hope for a brokered convention.

I have one question for Mr. Santorum:

What the fuck are you doing here? Whse side on you on? For which "team" will you take one? Romney? Obama?

As far as anyone dropping out,. it shuold be both Romney and Santorum - they are not conservatives, not honest, and most likely to lose to Obama.

Hi Kris,

No we are actually just two intelligent people who both really care. We don't coordinate what we write.

Thanks for your patronage :-)

Dr. Ron, you won't get any argument from us. It's so clear Newt is the best man for the job and that Santorum and Romney are just shadows of Newt's greatness. It's pretty depressing that they are the ones at the top right now. Especially given what is at stake.

Newt should also talk about health care costs, one of the biggest reasons this country is going in the tank.
as an example, if you bring your 3YO into the ER here, with a diagnosis of ear infection, the charges in the ER are $750. if you go to an urgent care, the charges are are $50.
how about incentivizing people to stay out of the ER, by giving them the option of going to the urgent care, which should be within the hospital. why would they do that ?? because you've provided them with a health savings acct instead of the usual health insurance. it's now THEIR money. it's health care rationing, to be sure, but it's done by the patient rather than a committee

Exactly, the Health Care market is pretty much the only industry in the US where we have a soviet system. The user of the product doesn't pay almost anything for the service so the normal rationing that happens due to price doesn't work. The whole Suppy-Demand equation is completely messed up. Because the price is near zero to the end user, demand is naturally much higher than it should be. Besides increasing demand to abnormally high levels this has allowed drug companies to have abnormally high pricing. It usually costs 1 cent to make a pill but they can charge $10 because they know they can. Also companies working on cancer products can charge $100k+ per treatment because they know that health insurers cant legally say no to cancer care.

GREAT ARTICLE!!! Nice to see that you've come back to your senses Libertarian Neocon!!

I think Newt is avoiding diving into the health care topic because of his history supporting individual mandate--- Read this EXCELLENT article from the
Ben Howe Blog, titled: Is Newt much better on the Question of Mandates

It REALLY makes me mad that Saint Santorum RAILS against Romney over Romneycare, but fails to mention to the American people that he passionately campaigned for and endorsed Romneycare back in '08 WHILE Mike Huckabee was still a viable candidate!!!
When I called in to Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin & Sean Hannity, they told me, flat out, that a LOT of people voted for Romney (including themselves), and that we shouldn't "nit pick" Santorum over it!

Funny... isn't that what they get PAID to do????? God forbid if anyone try to "nit pick" THEIR candidate of choice!!!
IMHO, they have proven to me (at least in this regard) to be NO different than the Main Stream Liberal media... sad, isn't it????

Thankfully, I've decided to give 'em ALL "The Bird" and faithfully follow PolitiJim!!! (:

Are you a moron? Was he untrustworthy refusing to even allow a tax increase to the floor his entire Speakership? Can you explain how a man wiht a 96% ACU rating who forced 4 balanced budgets with a Democrat President and engineered and passed more conservative laws than anyone sine the mid-1800's is "unconservative?" Clearly you are a lying partisan with no clear understanding of history or the conservative movement to make such broad accusations. Your comment actually shows you to be worse than all those things you've accused Gingrich of. A cowardly liar.

UGH. Untrustworthy. Unconservative. Retread. Progressive. Opportunist. NO THANKS.

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