Not much to be said about Super — wait a minute, “super”? — Tuesday. The outcome for Mitt Romney is described nicely in this report in the Times:
… The outcome of the contests on Tuesday, while allowing him to amass more delegates than any of his rivals, did little to resolve the questions about his ability to connect with voters, especially conservatives.
With the general election exactly eight months away, Republican leaders have increasingly argued that the time had come to move beyond the party’s messy intramural fight. They assumed that Mr. Romney’s strong financial advantages and muscular campaign organization would make that happen on Tuesday night.
Even the president anticipated a shift in the campaign. He staged his first White House news conference of the year hours before the votes started coming in to assail the Republican field for what he called irresponsible talk about war with Iran. He declined to answer questions about specific candidates, but flashed a smile when asked directly about Mr. Romney. ...NYT
Of course, “connecting with voters” was never going to be Romney’s strong point. His aim is to get the country “back on track.”
The rails of that track have been set in place by banks, by the defense industry, by the remnants of national industrial power in America, and by transnational corporations. The purpose of a president now is to maintain an almost illusory relationship between those powers and disenfranchised and alienated voters for the coming years in which we continue to have anything like a meaningful vote. The voters by now have figure out that they have very little connection to their government. Democrats may have something to smile at, if only ruefully.
But Democrats have lost Dennis Kucinich, one of the few remaining honest voices in that party, to a fellow Democrat. That was about redistricting — two good members of the left forced into the arena by the corrupt empire of legislative redistricting.
Mr. Kucinich conceded just past midnight Wednesday. With nearly 85 percent of the vote counted, Ms. Kaptur led Mr. Kucinich, her colleague and frequent ally in the House, by about 24 points in the race to represent Ohio’s recently redrawn Ninth Congressional District.
The outcome was largely expected. Mr. Kucinich, an antiwar populist from Cleveland who has run for president twice, lost his district when state lawmakers redrew the electoral map after Ohio, whose population has been dwindling, lost two Congressional seats last year. The new district — a skinny strip of land that covers parts of five counties from Cleveland to Toledo — contained more of Ms. Kaptur’s old territory than Mr. Kucinich’s, and Mr. Kucinich had been struggling to win over voters in areas beyond his traditional stronghold of Cleveland.
It is not clear whether Mr. Kucinich will try to run for public office somewhere else. After his district was eliminated last year, he visited Washington State to explore his options… NYT
Again, the people lose. In Texas, where redistricting mangles the state every ten years, there is a call for putting redistricting in the hands of voters.
Karl Rove told the Washington Post that we can’t know yet just how bad it could be for Romney in November — “It’s way premature to say it’s dispositive.” But the Post’s report shows that, at least from the point of view of the village, things don’t look good for the Republican effort to take the White House or for Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
Demographically, his image among independent voters, the most critical swing group, is more negative now than it was when the primary battle began. He could be hurt among women. He is in trouble with Latinos, a growing part of the electorate that is tilting even more Democratic than it was four years ago. He is not as strong as he needs to be among working-class white voters, among whom President Obama has been consistently weak.
Geographically, the numbers from several key states have been discouraging for the former Massachusetts governor. Pre-primary polls in Ohio, Virginia and Michigan showed him running behind Obama by low double digits. Ohio is a must-win for the Republican nominee in the fall, and Virginia is a state the GOP is determined to take back from the president. Republicans once thought Michigan?would?be?a?possible battleground, but at this point it?isn’t. ...WaPo
The Hill reports on two scenarios, the second of which seems mildly nuts.
… If he does eventually secure the nomination, an outcome that is far from certain, two drastically different visions for his general election prospects are developing.
In the first scenario, Mitt Romney’s struggle at “sealing the deal” (the official tagline of the 2012 race) presages doom in the general election. If he’s huffing and puffing to beat relatively weak candidates such as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, how can he beat an incumbent president? …
…The second scenario, however, is much more sanguine for Romney’s hypothetical general election hopes.
Race watchers in this camp point to the 2008 Democratic primary and Obama’s continual failure to win over women and working class Democrats, before succeeding wildly with them in the general election.
According to CNN exit polls of the 2008 Ohio primary, Hillary Clinton beat Obama by 16% among women. Critics of Obama’s electability waxed about how these voters might abandon him in the general election or just plain-old sullenly stay home… The Hill
Which, of course, they didn’t.
A reminder: Mitt Romney’s campaign outspent rivals’ campaigns by a factor of 4. Four times what Santorum et al. spent. In any state Romney “wins,” the hard truth is he didn’t win. Money did. If there were more enthusiasm for his candidacy, the money would sink into the background. But for now and maybe forever, Romney’s “wins” are really “buys.”
More chilling is the origin of that money. Some of it comes from supporters. A lot of it comes from Romney himself. Or rather, from the people whose jobs he eliminated as the broker of buyouts.