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Saturday, April 07, 2012

PPFA Suspended

Readership has plummeted as the Republican Primary has cooled.  There comes a point where one no longer has interest in talking to an empty room.  Moreover, I can't think of anything interesting to say anymore, and I certainly never found a way to discuss boring things in an interesting way.  (Granted, whether I ever had anything interesting to say in the first place is itself a matter of debate.)  Therefore, using the language of campaigns, Presidential Politics for America is suspended.

I do hope to continue to my weekly Monday column for Construction Lit Mag, though I recommend the website's superior writers if you want more engaging, consistent election updates.  Thanks for reading.

-IC

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Updated Primary Standings, 4/4

Here are the latest Republican Primary standings, now factoring in Mitt Romney's sweep last night, though all of the evening's delegates are not yet allocated. I'll update these standings as those websites update theirs.

As you probably know, none of the results last night were a surprise to this blog, with the predicted percentages remarkably close.

Nominating rules for GOP Primary
Total Delegates: 2,286 (Pledged: 1,871; Unpledged: 415)
Number needed to earn nomination: 1,144 (50% + 1)

Republican Delegate Estimates (as of April 4)
CNN Standings
1. Romney--659
2. Santorum-275
3. Gingrich--140
4. Paul--71

Delegates projected: 1145
Remaining delegates: 1141
Remaining delegates Romney needs for nomination: 485
Percentage of remaining delegates Romney needs: 42.5

Real Clear Politics Standings
1. Romney--655
2. Santorum--272
3. Gingrich--14
4. Paul--67

Delegates projected: 1128
Remaining delegates: 1158
Remaining delegates Romney needs for nomination: 492
Percentage of remaining delegates Romney needs: 42.5

Official (or "hard count")**
1. Romney--536
2. Santorum--202
3. Gingrich--132
4. Paul--26

Hard delegates allocated: 896
Remaining delegates: 1390
Remaining delegates Romney needs for nomination: 608
Percentage of remaining delegates Romney needs: 43.6

** From TheGreenPapers.com.  It counts only pledged, bound delegates; does not count RNC members, superdelegates, or unbound delegates from caucuses like Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, and Washington.

When will Romney reach 1,144?:  Read this.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC Preview

Worst blog post title ever?  I think so.  Moving on as quickly as possible...

Today are three boring contests.  There's little analysis left in the 2012 Republican Primary.  If you read my posts this weekend, you saw when we can expect Mitt Romney to reach 1,144 delegates, and when we can expect Rick Santorum to drop out.  Still, like I said over at Construction yesterday: Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee of the Republican Party. This aura of inevitability, unfortunately, puts us in “no man’s land.” The GOP Primary is over, but it’s not quite the general election yet, either.

Here we are, then, watching another night of primaries, though, we'll do so with only one eye.  Here's a brief preview of each primary tonight.

District of Columbia Primary (16 bound + 3 RNC = 19 delegates)
We'll start with Washington DC as it's not only the easiest to predict, but its delegate rules are also the easiest to understand.  Simply, DC's 16 bound delegates are winner-take-all.  Additionally, Rick Santorum isn't even on the ballot.  Expect a romp by Romney--including an immediate call by the networks when DC's polls close) and 16 more delegates added to his commanding lead.  (Gingrich and Paul will continue to be non-factors.)

Maryland Primary (34 bound + 3 RNC = 37 delegates)
The rules get a bit trickier here, but are still straight-forward.  Ten of the 34 delegates are awarded to the statewide winner.  The remaining 24 are determined by the 8 congressional districts--3 delegates each--and each district itself is winner-take all.  In other words, if a candidate wins the state with 40 percent of the vote, and wins each of the districts with 40 percent of the vote, that candidate would clear all 34 bound delegates, even if the runner-up finished with 39 percent of the vote in the state and each district.

This will be a good test as to how much the Republican Party has rallied to Mitt Romney.  Can he win 50 percent or more in every district?  Rick Santorum has always had strength away from the urban areas, but since Maryland never gets too rural, can Santorum find a way to steal any one of the eight?

I doubt it.  I see 34 more delegates for Romney (and another immediate network projection when Maryland polls close).  I'm most interested to see if he can clear 50 percent statewide and in each district against all three competitors (he surely will in the District of Columbia without Santorum on the ballot).  Look for him to hover right above that number, with Santorum in the mid-to-high 20s, Gingrich in the low teens, and Ron Paul happy if he reaches double-digits.

Wisconsin Primary (42 bound delegates)
Long thought to be Rick Santorum's best chance at an April 3 win, Wisconsin now looks to be the third piece of a Mitt Romney sweep.  The last handful of Wisconsin polls reveal Romney with a solid, consistent lead of five to ten points.  The primary rules for Wisconsin are identical to Maryland, only with Wisconsin being a bit weightier.  Of the 42 bound delegates, 18 go to the winner of the state's popular vote, then three per district (there are 8) make up the other 24.

Here we can finally expect Santorum to pick up some delegates, but not many.  By winning the state, Romney will win the 18 at-large delegates.  Of the eight districts, however, Santorum can probably win two or three.  Therefore, Romney will come away with 33 to 36 Wisconsin delegates, while Santorum will win 6 to 9.  (At least we won't have three contests immediately called by the news networks.  I'd say we might get an hour out of Wisconsin.)

As CNN covers the contests tonight, they will of course break down the Wisconsin exit polls.  What we can expect to see is that the number one issue on the voters' minds is Republican unity/defeating President Obama.  Santorum's run nears its end.

In total (98 delegates):
Romney wins around 90
Santorum wins 6-9.  (12 with some luck.)
Gingrich--0
Paul--0

And some people say this isn't over yet?  Please.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

When Will Santorum Drop Out?

Yesterday, I estimated that Mitt Romney will eclipse 1,144 delegates by either May 29's Texas Primary or June 5's five-primary day, which includes California.  I closed the column, however, with the acknowledgement that it didn't really matter when he did it.  It's inevitable that he will reach it, and that's all that really matters.  What is less predictable is when his chief opponent, Rick Santorum, will pack it up and return to Pennsylvania (and, probably, start positioning himself for VP and, if he fails at that also, start game-planning for another presidential run in 2016).

I actually think we'll see that withdrawal in 23 days.  Today, April 1, is likely the last month of Rick Santorum 2012.  Incidentally, I think Ron Paul will be the last to concede, waiting at least through his home state of Texas on May 29.  Paul really will wait until Romney reaches 1,144.  Of course, no one cares anymore.  (Speaking of no one caring, I'll address Newt Gingrich some other time.  He's a mystery.  I need more time to ruminate.)

So when exactly might the Santorum withdrawal happen?  This week we'll see three primaries, all on April 3--Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC.  Santorum will lose all three.  Yet, despite the campaign's darkest days, Santorum will not withdraw.  Why not?  Because he would have zero momentum moving forward into the rest of his career.  He'll want to go out on a win.

Thus, after his three losses on Tuesday, he'll lay low the rest of the month.  He'll refrain from saying anything negative about Romney, and he won't spend any money as he tries to withdraw in the black.  On April 21 is Missouri Part III.  Despite hemorrhaging momentum and support, he might be able to hang on to the Show Me State.  With his home state just three days later, however, he won't drop out quite yet.

On April 24 are the states of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Santorum's Pennsylvania.  Santorum will spend all his time in Pennsylvania in the days leading up to it.  He'll do whatever it takes to win it, including completely ignoring the other four states of the day, getting soundly beaten in all of them.

But he'll win Pennsylvania.  And he'll give a primetime speech in Pennsylvania.  And he'll thank Pennsylvanians for the win.  And he'll soak in the support of the home crowd.  And he'll thank the country for their support.  And then, with a fragment of momentum, with a crowd chanting his name, he'll preach about Republican unity, he'll throw his support behind Mitt Romney, and he'll bow out with his best impression of grace.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

When Will Romney Reach 1,144?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I didn't post all week.  I'll tell you what--full refund.

But let's be serious--the 2012 Republican Primary has lost its luster.  It has grown uncompetitive.  The mainstream media has finally caught up to what this blog has been saying for a while--Mitt Romney is the nominee of the Republican Party.  Recent endorsements from Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and former president George HW Bush tell us as much.  This aura of inevitability puts us in no mans land.  The GOP Primary is over, but it's not quite the general election yet, either.  Thus, my week off (with more days off to come).

Yet, even with the nomination all but settled, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul forge on, each hoping that their combined delegates will ultimately keep Romney from the requisite 1,144 needed to go into the convention without a deadlocked first ballot.  Their pluck, though admirable, will be fruitless.  Romney will get there in plenty of time.

When exactly?  I'm glad you asked.  As of this posting, according to Real Clear Politics, Romney has 565 delegates, meaning he needs to win 579 more.  (To estimate exactly when that will be, read this post while referring to the Republican Primary Schedule.)

This Tuesday has three contests--Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC.  Romney has always been expected to win Maryland and DC rather easily, and their winner-take-all rules will earn a great delegate haul for him.  Santorum was thought to have a shot at Wisconsin, but Romney has stormed into and extended a lead in Wisconsin polls.  Of the day's 93 delegates, Romney will take around 75 to get up to about 640.

Then there's an 18-day break until Missouri (again).  Santorum might be able to hang on to his favorability there, but with Romney surely considered inevitable after sweeping on April 3, perhaps Santorum will even lose his stranglehold on the Midwest.  Let's say the candidates earn a split of the state's 52 delegates.  Romney has now tacked on 100 April delegates to bring his total to 665.

Three days later is the sizeable primary day of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware, the amalgam of which awards 231 delegates.  Santorum should win his home state, but get demolished in the other four.  Romney easily clears 150 delegates.  815.

Then we turn to May.  May 8 has three Santorum states in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Indiana, which combine for 132 delegates.  But with Romney surging and Santorum falling apart (if he's even still in the race) Romney probably finds a way to win all three states.  Let's give him, for the sake of round numbers, 85 more delegates, bringing him to 900.

May 15 and May 22 have two states each--Nebraska/Oregon and Kentucky/Arkansas, respectively.  The four of them combine for 153 delegates, and Romney can expect to continue to consolidate the party, even if three states are in Santorum's former wheelhouse.  That's 100 more for 1,000 total.

The May 29 Texas Primary is worth a weighty 155.  It doesn't seem Romney will quite reach 1,144 with it, barring a drop outs from his rivals.  He'll close in on 1,100, though.

Only six primaries left.  Five of them are on June 5--New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, and the Big One--California.  That's 279 delegates combined--172 from California alone--which will, without question, put Romney over the top.  (The final primary will then be in Utah on June 26.)

So, when will Romney reach 1,144?  Either May 29 in Texas or June 5 in California.  Book it.

The more interesting question is: When will Santorum drop out?  You'll just have to check back for that one.
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