Told you so. Sort of.
Before South Carolina's primary, it seemed that most major media pundits were expecting Mitt Romney to cruise to the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile, I said it was far from over. Gingrich won South Carolina convincingly, and now many are saying that whoever wins Florida (the next primary contest) will almost have a lock on the nomination.
Do I have to go through the math again? Maybe not for you, but perhaps somebody has Googled "politics, primary, Romney" and decided to visit the 557th listing that came up.
(I have no idea if I'm the 557th listing. That's probably an optimistic estimate.)
According to CNN, here are the numbers of delegates won, through the three primaries contested thus far:
Gingrich - 25
Romney - 14
Paul - 10
Santorum - 7
Those figures do not include unpledged RNC delegates, of which there are 123 who become delegates automatically. When those attached to a candidate are included, the numbers become:
Romney - 31
Gincrich - 26
Paul - 10
Santorum - 8
So, what do these figures tell us? If you don't hear them screaming "It's far from over!", then you aren't listening.
As of now, no candidate has accrued 50% of the total delegates available to have been won. The fact remains that it takes a majority, or 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination (there are 2,287 delegates to be had, total.) Whichever delegate count you use, the frontrunner now has around 2.5% of the total needed to win. Florida has 50 delegates at stake. Assign those 50 to any one of the four candidates. It still leaves the frontrunner with only about 7% of the number he'll need.
Whichever way you look at it, if you truly believe this thing is near to over, you're an idiot (and I mean that in the kindest way.) Since lots of other dopes are making predictions, I may as well. I predict that there will be no clear winner and there will be a brokered convention. That is, deals will be made, between those candidates having accrued delegates, until such time as one emerges with a majority. And that means that anyone with meaningful hope of securing more delegates along the way, even if not enough to garner the nomination, may wield some bit of significant power come August.
Meanwhile, many in the media are still trying to sell us a bill of goods. The last two debates (one prior to voting in South Carolina, the other the first debate in Florida) have featured Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich front and center on the stage, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul pushed toward the wings. The questions from the moderators and panelists have been overwhelmingly directed towards the center of the stage. In many instances, Paul and Santorum have been excluded from even being allowed to answer those questions or offer rebuttal to the answers given by the other two candidates. In South Carolina, there was an instance where moderator John King (of CNN) did not give Ron Paul the opportunity to speak until the crowd voiced its collective displeasure at such a tactic.
The arrogance of the media is stunning.
Are Gingrich and Romney the leading candidates at this point? Yes, obviously. Will the eventual leader in delegate count be one of those two men? Probably so. Is it the debate moderator's job to decide that those two candidates will receive, say, 50% more speaking time than the other two candidates? By no means. What that is, is a dereliction of duty. It is not the moderator's job to influence the vote, but that is what is being accomplished when any candidate is marginalized. And the people willing to pay attention to these debates, and thus the best informed voters, deserve moderators and panelists without agendas, with no preconceived notions concerning viability of any candidates, and with more sense of fair play.
Do I have any real hope of seeing such? About as much as I have for the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship this year, which is to say it's a possibility but not one I'd be willing to bet on at less than 25 to 1.
And now, having discussed both sports and politics, with much of it done via math, I trust I've bored the hell out of the great majority of you and I'll go away.
Soon, with more better stuff.