Candidate wins project state personalities
Republican personalities at least
There are Bible states. There are conservative business and anti-labor states. There are wealthy white communities and their associated states. There are backward and bigoted states. They tend to have a skew in the direction away from tolerance and compassion and more toward self-centered and like-kindedness, IMO.
Like-kindedness revolves around ideology in the name of religious-driven values that conflict with humanitarian realities: myth versus pragmatism.
They advocate individualism so long as that is corralled with fences that protect what’s theirs. We can all attend church on Sunday, but after that we all go home and lock the gate.
Ezra Klein wrap up
“For three guys who profess to not like the media very much, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich are really making all our dreams of a long, unpredictable primary come true.
Super Tuesday "was the first night since South Carolina in which Romney could have probably put an end to the competitive portion of the nomination struggle by winning enough states," wrote Jonathan Bernstein. "He almost certainly didn’t do that." He won enough to stay in the lead, and enough to keep racking up delegates, but not enough to push Santorum or Gingrich out of the race or to credibly argue that he's wrapped up the nomination. And the next few weeks bring primaries in states where Romney is expected to struggle, like Alabama and Mississippi.
But it remains a fairly safe bet that Romney will be the nominee. Which raises the question: What kind of nominee will he be?
At the moment, I'm going to put my money on "a stronger one than seems apparent right now," for a couple of reasons. For one thing, there's too much extrapolation from current trends. Yes, the economy has gotten better, and President Obama's numbers have improved, over the last few months. But there's no guarantee the same will hold in the summer. Remember that in 2011, the beginning of the year brought four straight months of strong job growth -- as strong or stronger than what we've seen so far in 2012 -- which then sputtered out. If the same happens later this year, Romney will suddenly look a lot stronger, and Obama a lot weaker, than many have come to expect.
Second, it's possible that the GOP primary plays to Romney's weaknesses, while the general will play more to his strengths. He's got a big, top-heavy campaign that has been forced into asymmetrical warfare with smaller, lighter opponents. The dynamics of the primary are forcing Romney to unconvincingly adopt unpopular opinions that contradict what he's done and said in the past in order to persuade an electorate that's unusually concerned with purity. But in the general election, he'll be facing another big, top-heavy campaign, and he'll be able to run towards the center. Perhaps he'll perform better under those conditions.
Third, Romney's coalition might end up being broader than it appears. As Ron Brownstein notes, "Romney carried most voters who did not identify as evangelical Christians in each state except Oklahoma." He's struggling against evangelical Christians and voters who self-identify as "very conservative." But will these constituencies really stay home against Obama? And, if they do come out, there's the prospect that the very qualities that turn them off of Romney -- at least, if you assume their issue is ideological rather than religious -- could help him make inroads with the more moderate voters who will ultimately decide the election. Again, for the exact reason he's weak in the primary, he could be stronger in the general.
The counterargument, of course, is that Romney is struggling against very weak candidates and campaigns, he's being forced to take a lot of positions that will be anathema to the wider electorate, and that implies he's going to get torched by a stronger candidate and campaign. A fun game: Watch the speeches on any given GOP primary night and then head to YouTube and call up the speeches Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton gave on that same night in 2008. Here, for instance, is Obama's Super Tuesday speech from 2008. It doesn't make Romney look good.
Even so, though Romney has the worst poll numbers of any presidential nominee in recent history, Obama has the worst poll numbers of any incumbent president running for reelection in recent history. And we remain a closely divided country with a very fragile economy. Right now, Obama is leading Romney by more than five points in the Real Clear Politics polling average. But I would be very surprised if, in November, the final margin between the two candidates is more than three points in either direction.”
Via the Washington Post