Seven Takeaways From Arizona And Michigan

OK, so we had the primaries in those two states yesterday. Mitt won big in Arizona over Santorum, 47.3 to 26.6, and squeaked one out in Michigan, 41.1 to 37.9. The Politico provides 5 takeaways

1) A win is a win: It’s the cliche of the cycle, and we’ve found ourselves saying it to defend a Mitt Romney victory more frequently than we’d have ever imagined.

It was a brutal campaign for these two states, particularly between Mitt and Rick, but, hey, now it’s done, and we move into Super Tuesday!

2) Santorum blew a huge opportunity: Rick Santorum lost his last Senate race in Pennsylvania by 18 points, and the week leading up to the Michigan vote was a reminder why.

The question is, did Santorum’s foray into the abortifacient issue hurt him? It sure coincided with a drop in numbers. Certainly, the fact that he more often tended to speak about it in terms of the problem of Big Central Government and being unconstitutional was rarely discussed in the media, which typically showed Santorum in the light of a Social Warrior.

3) On to Ohio: This race could end up being over much more quickly than people who have settled in for a long slog think – or it could drag on for months.

Much will depend on how Romney does on Super Tuesday, when a slew of Southern states that are not quite favorable to him will go to the polls. For Romney and Santorum, the big battle that day is Ohio, a Rust Belt locale that both need to win.

Can Santorum catch fire going in to Super Tuesday?

4) Whither Newt?

Who?

5) Ron Paul is now seen as a Romney surrogate

This is a bit of a problem for a movement candidate: Paul, whose strategy has been to amass delegates through a caucus-focused strategy, has become essentially an afterthought because of the way he is now viewed.

Whether or not that is true, this could both help and hurt Mitt. If Paul eventually decides to give it up and back Mitt, that could give Mitt a bunch of crazed voters pulling for him. On the other hand, does Mitt really want many of them who are Truthers, racists, neo-Nazi white supremacists, etc, backing him?

And two more from me:

  1. People need to relax about this being a brutal primary: it happens. It wasn’t particularly nice between the Obama and Clinton camps (remember, it was Team Clinton that started the Birther and Muslim movements.) It was brutal for the Dems in 2004. It was brutal for both parties in 2000. The GOP in 1996. And so on. What’s happening now is the Internet, as it has grown more and more.
  2. Santorum is not out of it. If you heard his post-election speech last night, you would have heard a big focus on economics and liberty. If he wants to perform on Super Tuesday, he really has to focus on those, and not let the media turn him into an all social issues all the time guy.

What are your thoughts?

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