If Romney’s victory is ultimately overturned, timing will be key. Currently, the state GOP isn’t scheduled to meet until March, the Saturday after Super Tuesday. Depending on how the GOP race is progressing, having his Maine win tossed out then could be a serious blow to Romney — or it might not matter at all, if he’s coming off a series of big victories. But the timeline might also speed up. If (and it’s a very big if) Paul scores an emphatic victory in Washington County this weekend, it will be a lot tougher for the state Republican Party to run out the clock on this one.
And then there is Michigan…
With the proper spin, Romney could persuasively portray a split decision, where he wins Arizona and loses Michigan, as a big win. (It would be, delegate-wise.) Instead, he’s made the Arizona race almost completely invisible, and positioned his campaign to suffer a narrative of collapse if Santorum can maintain his lead in Michigan. Now, Romney stands a strong chance of catching Santorum by employing his familiar method of overwhelming financial superiority. But, hey, maybe Santorum can hang on. Why has Romney decided to make the state do-or-die?
Noam Scheiber addresses two probable scenarios, “either a single-digit Romney loss or a single-digit Romney win.” He thinks neither result will change much:
Win or lose for Romney, we’ll still be stuck in the same pattern: Romney pulls out victories when he spends a lot of money and when the demographics tilt in his favor (i.e., proportionately fewer conservatives and more affluent people), and loses when he either doesn’t spend enough money or the demographics aren’t sufficiently in his favor. Unfortunately for Romney and the GOP, that’s a hell of a depressing way to win a presidential nomination.