Can Mitt Romney unite the GOP after Super Tuesday?
Maybe, says Dave Weigel:
A Romney source in Tennessee tells me that the campaign’s internals have showed the race down to 3 points, with Santorum’s lead collapsing. This was what the Romney campaign always wanted and expected. Santorum’s wins in the February caucuses were unwelcome surprises. He was able to win voters there by bailing on Nevada and Florida, where Romney was running up his scores. It was Super Tuesday that was supposed to kill the Santorum grassroots campaign, with the live-off-the-land candidate unable to campaign in every state, unable to match Romney’s ad spending.
Pete Spiliakos doubts Romney can consolidate the vote:
[W]e might see a third Gingrich surge or a third Santorum surge. And then another Romney surge. All of this is going to be accompanied with discontent. It is like the Republicans have three cartons of rotten milk. They’ve already taken a taste out of each carton and, on some level, know the milk is bad in all of them. So they take out a carton, pour a drink, gag, put the carton back in the refrigerator, and take out one of the other two cartons that they’ve already gagged on. And they keep doing it over and over again.
Caroline Bankoff notes that “the Republican Establishment is indicating a desire to see an end to the current war of attrition.”
Ryan Lizza questions whether this is best for the party:
Having a presumptive nominee heading into the Convention would allow Republicans to begin their campaign against Obama. But maybe the conventional wisdom is wrong. If Romney is the nominee, many conservatives could feel marginalized, with no recourse other than pleading for a more conservative running mate. The invisible primary failed to produce a consensus choice, and it may actually be to the Party’s advantage to have the actual primaries fail in the same way. If that happens, then a deliberative Convention, where all factions of the G.O.P. have a voice, could be what puts the Republican Party back together.