UPDATED – We’ve been tracking the aftermath of the GOP primaries and watching the superficial spin by the mainstream media. They want Romney to win, to fit the standard narrative. Where you win, county by county, is more important than by how much in American primary politics. Rick Santorum’s wins in Mississippi and Alabama last night, with Red counties on steroids, reaffirm it.
In Florida and Michigan, at t2P, we crunched the polling numbers and broke down the race county by county. In the far Redder states of Mississippi and Alabama, there was a twist: Gingrich hurt Romney more than Santorum. Take Alabama:
Romney was able to grab Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery in Alabama, and the western third of Mississippi. He wins big in Blue counties that will stay in the Democratic column (or the Democrat column for our Fox News friends) in a general election. The same trend has been holding through Super Tuesday, and was amplified last night. With the exception of Mobile County, Romney’s other “wins” were in counties that went overwhelmingly Democratic in 2008.
The other solidly “Blue” counties of Alabama went largely to Gingrich, splitting the Romney, not Santorum, vote.
Romney “wins” are rat poison victories. While his campaign gorges on the delegates which the GOP brass would love to throw his way, his campaign is slowly politically starving to death for real voters in the general election.
Even if he can survive the GOP Convention, Romney’s prospects for the general election hinge on the only unifying force that has made itself known in the primaries: Unleashing a sea of racism to overcome his own negatives. McCain went racist in the last weeks of his campaign, much to his own political peril.
HuffPo pegs Romney’s unfavorable rating daily, with the general voter passing 47.3% and rising. The number is actually generous. A recent Bloomberg poll has a large undecided but most national polls have him over 50%.
Nothing seems to be improving for his campaign either. True, they can boast they took Guam, but they have made more miscalculations over the last few weeks. For a candidate with the deepest pockets and the broadest organization, to “miss” a state like Kansas may be cost-effective campaigning, it sends out yet another signal of weakness to the hard-Right base.
More important, though, is that Mr. Romney is not demonstrating anything that looks like savvy, strong leadership. He is not vying for governor, or the finale of some reality show. He is trying to become the leader of the free world, and show that the Republican Party, which barely represents one citizen in ten, is behind him.
How do you pull that off with confidence when you can’t even convince a majority of your own hardcores, In hardcore states like Mississippi and Alabama, that you can do the job?
The mainstream media loves to talk the tradition of unfavorable polls for Mr. Obama, but they haven’t spent equal time on Romney. The good news for the Obama campaign is that his numbers are trending better exactly as Romney’s are nose-diving.
Everyone in the punditocracy is presuming that Romney will be the nominee. If he doesn’t get the number of delegates to take it on the first ballot, though, and it is looking very much like he will not, then it will be his weakness in Red states like Kansas and his strength in meaningless Blue counties in other states that may give Mr. Santorum, or a dark-horse candidate like Jeb Bush the outside edge.
With an economy on the mend, the Congressional Teahadis having to back off of contraception and health care reform, heel dragging on jobs while pushing radical social agenda, and other blunders, it is unlikely that the large portion of the voting public is going to see the Republicans as the salvation from the mess of their own making under George W. Bush.
If anything, the GOP looks a lot less grand these days. It is a fractured, bickering mass, Libertarians largely in-fighting with the Christian crusaders and the Wall Streeters for control of a party that has spun out of control.
There is the election at hand though. If Mr. Obama happened to be white, this would be a walk in the park, even with the high jobless numbers. Unfortunately, though, racism, which places a close third to economics and religion in political importance in this country, will give whomever the GOP candidate will be a HUGE bump up. Voter suppression drives likewise are intended to level the playing field.
Some of that is being whittled down by threatening women’s health and reproductive rights, but there are a lot of Americans who will vote for Jojo the Dog-Faced Boy rather than a black man for President, even when Mr. Obama has made call after call on everything from the auto industry to Osama Bin Laden to limiting exposure to Libya that have all been spot on.
Watch this video that a Real Time with Bill Maher producer shot in Mississippi. She swears that there are 20 more that she interviewed who were just as whacked out:
The media likes to buzzword short-hand his march as ‘invevitability.’ It’s not though. There is nothing certain, and Mr. Romney is vulnerable, both in his primary fight and in the general election, should he survive.
His Mormon faith is almost as repugnant to Christian conservatives as the color of Mr. Obama’s skin is to them and to the large white racist wing filled with Tea Party whack-jobs. Racism trumps religion when we get to the general election, but the GOP’s zombie-like relentless drive to alienate women by way of their reproductive rights puts the Right back below 50%. Even racist women take the pill, and aren’t looking for theocrats like Rick Santorum to tell them otherwise.
Romney is waffling in the wind with every major issue, which has enough people from the general electorate mistrusting his ability to lead. Women won’t trust that he’s looking out for them. Those that don’t like him, and can’t vote for Mr. Obama may just stay home in November, which equalizes the push to exclude minority voters and the young and old, and the heaping helping of racist rhetoric bound to come from the Far Right as soon as the primaries end.
It will be close, to be sure, but, were we a better America, it shouldn’t be.
My shiny two.
Originally published at the Daily KOS on Sunday and modified today.