The Republican Party rank and file is working hard into and throughout Tuesday to make sure this bloody Presidential primary comes to a close before it gets worse. But, the potential outcome shows signs of raising more questions than answers as we head into Super Tuesday.
It will be interesting to see the influence of people of color in the GOP primary on Tuesday. Not because of votes, but to see just how much the racialized coding and anti-immigrant language employed in past weeks has helped certain nominees like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. While Black and Latino participation in this round of primaries will be practically non-existent, their footprint in the GOP electoral conversation is prominent. What sorts of dividends will that translate into for candidates bold enough to go there? And what will that say about the Republican primary electorate? What omens will that bode for the general election in November?
Super Tuesday is the happy hour of political events every four years, the Mardi Gras of pollsters and prognosticators, the carnal carnival and March Madness and everything in between for cable networks and countless news outlets. Find your closest theme-parked sports bar with multiple flat screens, buy rounds of drinks for everyone in the joint and then bribe the bartender to flip the channels to all night coverage, because it may very well be an all-nighter. Watch the insanity unleashed as the same looking White guy after White guy after that lucky pundit of color sandwiched between the two White guys and the token White girl on screen all make sense of it.
In total, we have 419 delegates spread throughout 10 states in play. Here are the list of states and the number of delegates each one:
Alaska – 27
Georgia – 76
Idaho – 32
Massachusetts – 41
North Dakota – 28
Ohio – 66
Oklahoma – 43
Tennessee – 58
Vermont – 17
Virginia – 49
Big question: Will Tuesday night really make Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee? Much of it, for Romney, depends on the region, the personality of the state and the size of the media market. Romney seems to dig in and Battle-of-the-Bulge pushback well when he’s competing in a sizeable media state, where carpet-bombing opponents with a run of negative ads can make a difference in the slimmest of margins.
But, in this case, it’s more personality and geography. How red meat conservative is the state? Is it in the Deep South or Bible Belt where Southern evangelical Whites don’t trust the Mormon Yankee blue state Governor from Massachusetts anyway?
If Sarah Palin has any influence in Alaska, will she flip a grassroots switch and get foot soldiers out for Newt Gingrich? Romney should easily snatch Massachusetts, but that indy streak in Vermont will be Ron Paul’s for the taking. Virginia will easily end up in the Romney column (thanks to both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich not qualifying for the ballot), but Georgia will be for homeboy Newt. Prize jewel Ohio could lean Santorum’s way if his middle class blue collar message resonates – doesn’t hurt to have been a Senator in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania who can take advantage of the blend of Buckeye and Keystone State media offering a boost. And, in Tennessee, Santorum is running solidly ahead in the polls. Maybe they like what they’re hearing? Too early to tell.