Florida Primary Aftermath
Last night, for the first time, I was glad that only half of Florida's delegates will count. With McCain's win he picks up not just 57 delegates, but he also now has the momentum required to win the Republican primary.
I will try not to dwell too much on Romney's loss, but there was much screaming at the Mr. G house last night.
So where does this leave us? There are a few things we learned on the Republican side last night:
1. McCain can win without appealing to Conservatives. The conventional political wisdom for a while has been that Republicans don't have to run Conservative candidates because Conservatives if pitted with the choice of voting for a non-conservative Republican vs. a democrat will normally pick the Republican. This political strategy hasn't been put into practice often because Conservatives energize the party and make the race that much easier. But for whatever reason, whether it is because some Conservatives are believe McCain is the most electable or because Romney and Huckabee are splitting votes, or that Conservatives just aren't energize, McCain is showing that he can get along just fine without really targeting Conservatives.
This is a pretty significant shift in Republican politics. If McCain is able to win because of his broad appeal, it will set the standard for Republican candidates to come. I've heard many argue that McCain is a good candidate because he will set the stage for a Conservative candidate, but I don't see that happening. Once the party begins to go down the road towards solidifying in the middle it is going to be a tough task to get back to the right.
2. The only chance for a Conservative to beat McCain is for Huckabee to drop out. With Giuliani's impending endorsement of McCain, Huckabee and Romney can no longer afford to split votes. As last night's results showed, Romney has a much broader base than Huckabee and is in a better position to win. Huckabee has been sold as the strong pro-life and pro-family candidate. Folks have joined him because of belief in those causes. But it is now time for Huckabee to put those causes before his campaign. The longer Huckabee stays in the race, the less chance a Conservative has of winning the primary. It is time for Huckabee to take one for the team and do what is best for the causes we believe in; drop out and endorse Romney. An exit by Huckabee after Super Tuesday may be too late.
I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory.