Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
It’s Mitt’s Michigan Miracle. Those fifteen “winning” delegates to Santorum’s paltry fifteen. Wait. That’s a tie, when you’re not doing Mitt Math. So the media scores one for Romney. Once again, though, WHERE Mitt is winning and losing is more important than by how much.
Romney carried enough of the vote to split the delegate count with Rick Santorum. Here is the way that the GOP 2012 contest in Michigan rolled out on Tuesday:
Note that Romney did well in the pockets around Detroit and Southern Michigan and in one block in the North around Petosky. Now let’s take a look at the way that Michigan voted in 2008 for Barack Obama and John McCain:
Note that McCain in 2008 carried the same Northern Michigan counties and a few of the more rural areas around Port Hope of West Michigan. Now, let’s combine the maps:
You now see the recurring problem that the Romney campaign faces. They aren’t holding the more populous counties, and Santorum’s hard Right roadshow also makes him a favorite in more rural, remote regions. Romney lost the corridor of mid-Eastern counties that McCain held in 2008 to Santorum. Bigger cities, like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, and Muskegon are still likely to be Obama territory in the general election.
We talked about the same problem in Florida (See: The article.). Romney won the heavily Democratic counties like Palm Beach, but could not muster up a win in Orange County (Orlando) or the Panhandle.
Romney is winning a purple vote: The bit of red in districts in the parimaries that are solid blue in general elections. Santorum is picking up most of the hard right reds. Which continues to beg the question:
Can Romney win a general election if he can’t carry his base’s strongholds?
This may be where Mr. Santorum comes in. Note that he holds the strongholds of Michigan that McCain carried in 2008.
He has been very careful not to savage Romney too badly. In a brokered convention, which seems likely, could he parlay his very close seconds into a Vice Presidential bid?
Romney needs the rabid racists, religious zealots, and other assorted size Obama haters to come out and vote. One of their own, someone for whom they actually cast a vote, put on the ticket could guarantee the Christian foot soliders who normally man offices, knock on doors, and do the other drudge work of the campaign’s general election cycle.
The trend continues to show that Mr. Romney has yet to master the growing divide between independents and moderate fiscal conservatives and the rabid Teahadis and the holy rollers. Romney may be on the road to a paper victory, but with Santorum’s continued strength, the GOP may get Rick rolled yet.
My shiny two.