Republican Primaries: The End (essentially)

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Mitt Romney

The good news for world-weary Americans is that the Republican primaries are effectively over. The bad news is that the Republican primaries aren’t officially over for another four months – the last state, Utah, doesn’t to go the polls until June the 26th.

Former Massachusetts governor and consistent front-runner Mitt Romney has all but won his party’s Presidential nomination. At this stage, it would be nigh-on impossible for any of the other contenders to beat him to the official candidacy and go on to face Barack Obama in November.

Superficially at least, recent primary results make the race look misleadingly open – this month alone hard-right social conservative Rick Santorum has won seven. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to the total number of state delegates each candidate receives. With four months to go, Romney has secured an unassailable lead, his 568 more than double that of Santorum’s 273, and dwarfs the totals of both Newt Gingrich (135) and Ron Paul (50). Continue reading “Republican Primaries: The End (essentially)”

Digested: Maine, Nevada, Colorado and Minnesota – the Republican Primaries

As the year goes on and the primary race becomes progressively frenzied, our tentative attempts at coverage are going to have to be scaled back a bit.

We’re getting to the stage where multiple contests are being held on the same day – February the 7th saw Coloradoan and Minnesotan Republicans head for their nearest voting booth, and March will bring Super Tuesday, the day when 11 states all vote at once. The Maine Caucuses, stretched across a week from the 4th to the 11th of February, eventually resulted in a narrow win for the Romney camp. Republican renegade Ron Paul drew significant support from libertarian-leaning Mainers, and came within 194 votes of snatching victory – impressive, but still disappointing for his supporters since some had predicted Maine was the one state Dr Paul could win outright.

That said, doubts have been cast as to the validity of the results – bad weather meant that not all of the state’s electoral precincts meant that only 84% of districts were represented in the official results. Some, especially in the Paul camp, are agitating for all districts to be taken into account, meaning that there is still chance for a last-minute upset particularly given the closeness of the final result – Romney got 39.2% of the vote, with Paul close behind on 35.7%.

The Nevada Caucuses, held on February the 4th, provided Romney with an easy win. The large Nevadan Mormon community turned out in force to support their brother in Christ – 25% of caucus goers were Mormons. The result was an unquestionable 50.1% victory for the Romney camp – he indisputably walks away the winner, but since Nevada’s 28 delegates are distributed based on a candidate’s share of the votes cast, Gingrich and Paul, second and third respectively, don’t leave empty-handed. 

Come February the 7th, though, Romney’s fortunes nose-dived. Up until then, discomfort about his perceived centrism was certainly palpable amongst the Republican rank and file, but hadn’t stopped the seeming inevitability of him slowly but steadily riding to victory. Throughout the contest so far he’s frequently looked and sounded like he’d been named the party’s official Presidential candidate already.

But in Colorado and Minnesota, he was unexpectedly bested by the socially conservative former Senator for Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, despite entering both confident of success. Santorum’s Colorado lead was small – 40.3% to Romney’s 34.9% – but Minnesota brought the added humiliation of seeing the former frontrunner pushed into third place behind Santorum and Paul. Santorum won with 44.9% of the vote, Paul came second with 27.1%, with Romney trailing in third with 16.9%, his lowest vote share of the contest so far.

Mitt Romney is still the most likely Republican to end up facing Barack Obama in a full-blown Presidential election come November. What recent events have demonstrated is that winning that official Republican seal of approval is probably going to be a far choppier ride than Romney himself and a lot of political commentators had expected.

Digested: Florida Republican Primary

The now significantly streamlined race for the Republican Presidential nomination continues on the other side of the Atlantic, with presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney regaining his stride after a distinctly shaky week in which he was stripped of one primary victory, and suffered an unexpected heavy loss at another.

Decisively trounced by right-wing space cadet Newt Gingrich in conservative-leaning South Carolina, Romney recovered to take the influential state of Florida with 46% of the vote to Gingrich’s 32%. Although his impressive win secures 50 delegates for the Romney campaign and pushes him well in to the lead, his victory could have been even more resounding. Continue reading “Digested: Florida Republican Primary”

Digested: South Dakota Republican Primary/All Change

Confusingly, it’s all change over the pond after a week that’s been turbulent even by American political standards.

Within the space of a few days, Mitt Romney went from being confidently ahead of the pack, optimistically looking forward having secured two states-worth of delegates, to being stripped of one of those victories then getting decisively hammered into second in South Dakota by a resurgent Newt Gingrich.

On Thursday, a recount of the votes cast during the Iowa Caucus found that Rick Santorum had actually won 34 more than Mitt Romney, who’d apparently scraped to victory by just eight votes on the night. Substantially, this doesn’t make much difference to the Romney camp – second place simply means Romney gets 12 delegates from Iowa, rather than 13. Symbolically, the effects are profound, especially in the light of events in South Dakota. Continue reading “Digested: South Dakota Republican Primary/All Change”

Digested: The New Hampshire Primary

Last Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary left Mitt Romney the victor by a comfortable margin, surely reassuring for the frontrunner after he barely scraped a win over surging social conservative Rick Santorum back in Iowa.

The fate of the aforesaid Senator Santorum nicely demonstrates how mercurial the primaries can be, especially at the beginning – strong second in Iowa, Santorum floundered in fifth in liberal New Hampshire, berated for his hard-line opposition to gay marriage. The result gives Romney a commanding lead. Like Iowa, New Hampshire doesn’t yield that many delegates to victorious candidates – the Romney camp has only secured 20 from two successive wins (a candidate needs 1,144 to secure the nomination). Continue reading “Digested: The New Hampshire Primary”

Digested: The Republican Primaries (so far)

republican-presidential-candidatesAmerican politics is especially painful for non-Americans, seeing as though we have to deal with its far-reaching fallout while having no say whatsoever in what happens.

In a sane world, the citizens of earth would all get a vote in November’s presidential election – who wins has the potential to drastically affect all of our lives. Even with American military and economic clout palpably on the wane, the victor will unchallengeable remain the planet’s most powerful single individual. As it happens, we just have to sit and watch.

Now is a good time to start paying attention. The Republicans have started the slow process that will culminate in August’s National Convention in Tampa, Florida, where the Party officially chooses its Presidential candidate. Also, some of the Republican race’s zanier outliers have begun to drop out, meaning that a clearer picture of who will eventually face Obama is beginning to emerge. Continue reading “Digested: The Republican Primaries (so far)”