But I only need this many more delegates ... (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Every election watcher's most fervent dream for half a century has been a brokered primary. Of course, I'd love to see one myself, though it seems like almost every cycle, folks try to make an argument why there will actually be one this year... and, well, they just never pan out. So I can't get super-excited by the numbers Fipp Avlon runs through here
, as tempting as it might be:
Play around with the CNN delegate calculator and you can see that even if [Mitt] Romney were to win every contest going forward with 100 percent of the delegates (that’s called kickin’ it North Korea-style) he still wouldn’t reach 1,144 until April 3. Under a similar extreme scenario, it would take Rick Santorum until April 23. Here’s the real kicker: If Romney and Santorum were to split the delegates going forward and each were to carry five of the 10 all-or-nothing contests, neither candidate would win enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
One thing Avlon's hypothetical doesn't account for is the much-vaunted notion of "momentum": If Romney does indeed run off a string of big wins in the style of KimJongNumberUn
, he'd probably be able to recapture the "inevitability" mantle and knock Santorum back on his heels—and perhaps out of the race altogether. But maybe not. Even if Romney does regain his mojo, if the math at any point makes it impossible for him to come away with a clean majority of delegates, then Santorum would have a reason to stay in until the bitter end even if he can't possibly hope to catch up. Darnit, there I go, getting all excited when I said I wouldn't!
Of course, there's also the little-discussed issue of Republican convention super-delegates. I know, the very word "superdelegates" probably dredges up some bad memories of 2008. But for the GOP, it could be deja vu all over again—and that wouldn't be a bad thing.