Ezra Klein says “No White Knight” for Republicans
No Dark Horse either.
It’s Mitt or bust in my opinion. The Obama vs. Mitt contest will force the President to refine his thoughts, plans, and programs. That is a good thing.
Knowing Romney’s penchant for adaptability, his plans and programs are likely to improve also.
I would like to see a battle of ideas emerge against a backdrop of Americans intent on throwing out members of Congress who have blocked progress.
“Mitt Romney will likely win the Florida primary tonight. But he's unlikely to drive Newt Gingrich out of the race. He might not even persuade Rick Santorum to leave. And so there will be more primaries, more debates, more opportunities for conservative elites to worry that they're not looking at the right candidate for the general election, more time for majorities of Republican voters to tell pollsters that their field is only fair-to-poor this year. But that doesn't mean there's enough time for a new candidate to get into the race.
Josh Putnam, a political scientist at Davidson University, ran the numbers. To win the Republican nomination, a candidate needs 1,144 delegates. After tonight, the total number of delegates up for grabs in the states where the filing deadlines for new candidates have not yet passed is 1,066. So if a new candidate entered the race on Wednesday and won every single delegate in every single state where he or she was on the ballot, it still wouldn't be enough to win the nomination outright.
There are more delegates up for grabs, of course, if you count states with a write-n feature. But write-in candidacies are very, very hard. Nevertheless, it's possible a new candidate could keep any of the existing candidates from reaching the 1,144 delegates on their own. That would open the possibility of a brokered convention.
But ask yourself: who is the candidate who is willing to enter the race late, face the combined fire of Romney and Gingrich and Santorum, campaign all across the country, build an organization from scratch, make scores of enemies in the party, and do all of it without the prospect of actually winning the nomination outright? Because, given the delegate math, the best this candidate could plausibly hope for would be to force a brokered convention -- and there's no guarantee that a brokered convention would favor their candidacy. It's an enormous amount of pain and risk for a very uncertain, and possibly negative, payoff. And that's an optimistic scenario.
"Think about this for a moment," writes Putnam. "There are people in this race now actively seeking the nomination (and who have been running for president for quite some time) who cannot get on the ballots in some states. And we are expecting someone to come in and immediately be able to beat these deadlines, organize write-in efforts and uncommitted slates of delegates to get within shouting distance of 1144 or a lower total held by the frontrunner. I apologize, folks. But I just don't see it. There is no silver bullet. There is no white knight."”
Via the Washington Post