By Carole on Feb 8, 2012
Way before the first caucus in Iowa, conservative have been concerned that the "Republican establishment" would propel the decidedly un-conservative Mitt Romney to the GOP nomination. The mainstream media has been happy to play along, practically writing the obituary of the tea party movement and discounting conservative contenders. The president's reelection campaign has focused almost exclusively on Mr. Romney as its de facto opponent. And yet somehow, despite all the collective firepower against them, those conservative voters are making their voices heard. They may not achieve an absolute victory for a conservative candidate via the primary process, but they are certainly raising the chances of a brokered convention in August.
With former Senator Rick Santorum's hat trick in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado last night; he not only improved his own chances in the race, he made things much more difficult for Governor Romney. In this game of "American Squares," the voters definitely chose Mr. Santorum to block and there's a good chance voters in Arizona and Michigan could do the same at the end of the month.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did poorly in yesterday's contests but, unless Santorum fever really catches on, he will probably fare better in at least some of the states voting on March 6 a.k.a. Super Tuesday. The ten states holding caucuses or primaries on that date include Mr. Gingrich's home state of Georgia as well as Oklahoma and Tennessee where he has significant support in the polls.
And we can't forget Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) who continues to get enough support in each state to, if not be competitive, at least play a spoiler role making it tougher for any one of his opponents to win the 1,144 delegates necessary to secure the nomination.
In an interview last month, an influential voice in the tea party movement speculated that grassroots activists could play the major role in determining the GOP nominee. Former House Majority Leader and Chairman of FreedomWorks Dick Armey said, "You'd have to argue it's not likely that anybody on the field is going to come out of this process with 51% of the delegates. Therefore the real determination of the presidential nomination outcome is going to be at convention time. Our impact is extremely important at that point."
With GOP primary voters and caucus goers refusing to either accept Governor Romney or coalesce around another candidate, that brokered convention may be the unintentional outcome. Or it could just be the conservatives' plan all along.
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