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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida and the Final Five

Today, Florida Republicans have a decision to make. They can vote for John McCain, thereby putting a bow on the Republican Primary as McCain rides the momentum into Super Tuesday (and beyond). Or, they can vote for Mitt Romney, keeping their primary competitive between two men, making Super Tuesday (and beyond) a toss up.

Let there be no mistake, those are the only two feasible scenarios tonight. I'll make quick work of the other "contenders" still in the contest.

Ron Paul - He's admirably plucking away while his supporters are still fervent. His issues are so deviated from the new Republican Party that he has no reason to drop out. Who would he endorse? He'll want to partake in any remaining debates, so he'll probably stay in until the nominee is evident.

Mike Huckabee - His strong national poll numbers from mid-December to mid-January were due to his temporarily enthusiastic support from the Deep South and Midwest, with their right wing ideology guiding them to whom they thought was the conservative alternative for which they had so long been pining. He flirted with legitimacy right up until his second place finish in South Carolina. Once he proved the least bit fallible in the middle of his core constituency (evangelical Southerners), any hope of possibly stringing together enough states and delegates to win the nomination went by the wayside. With no viable route of attracting skeptical metropolitan Republicans, the momentary excitement after his Iowa Caucus victory was all for naught.

Rudy Giuliani - Worst. Strategy. Ever. He'll finish out of the top 2 in Florida, he'll win a couple primaries next Tuesday, and he'll drop out soon thereafter that, not wanting to tarnish Giuliani Partners by making desperate moves. (For the record, IF Giuliani wins Florida, and McCain finishes third, then it can develop into a 3-way race, as a viable Giuliani could catapult back into the polling lead in California, while also winning New York and New Jersey. Those three states have winner-take-all primaries, so all delegates go to the candidate with the plurality of the vote. If Giuliani wins those three states, he's competing for the nomination, if not leading it. But first, he has to win Florida. Which he won't.)

The other two Republican candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, have the momentum in the Republican Primary, evidenced by their wins in South Carolina and Nevada, respectively. They also lead Florida polls and national polls. In sum, they are the only two candidates that have any realistic shot at winning the Republican nomination.

At the beginning of the month, we had seven potential Presidents (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee). At the end of the month, we're down to four (Clinton, Obama, McCain, Romney). If McCain wins tonight, we're down to three, and I can start taking a real close look at McCain's VP possibilities later in the week.

Tomorrow I'll break down the results from Florida.

1 comment:

Roger Wiley said...

Don't underestimate the Paul campaign - as the others drop out their delegates and supporters have to go somewhere, and I am guessing many will fall to Paul.

What is this New Republican party that you speak of? Oh, you mean Democrat....

How about a True Republican - Ron Paul

McCain is just Hillary/Obama-Lite

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