The Danger of Deadlock

If Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich split the remaining primaries and caucuses — even if Romney wins most of them — we will not have a nominee until the summer and may not have one until the convention in late August.

In that case, kiss our chances of beating Obama goodbye!

With a majority of the delegates to be chosen through proportional representation, Romney would have to win virtually all of the winner-take-all states and do well in the others to get the nomination before the convention in late, late, late August.

If Santorum or Gingrich upend Romney, in even a handful of key states, we will have a deadlock.

Here’s how it stacks up.

Let’s assume the best case for Romney. He wins these winner-take-all states: North Dakota, 28 delegates; Vermont, 17; Virgin Islands, 9; Guam, 9; Puerto Rico, 23; Illinois, 69; Washington D.C., 19; Maryland, 37; Wisconsin, 42; Connecticut, 28; Delaware, 17; Rhode Island, 19; Indiana, 46; West Virginia, 31; Nebraska, 35. Romney would lose only Pennsylvania, 72, to Santorum and Georgia, 76. Gingrich would take North Carolina, 55.

And then assume that Romney “wins” these proportional representation states but has to split the vote with the other three candidates: Alaska, 27; Idaho, 32; Massachusetts, 41; Ohio, 66; Virginia, 49; Wyoming, 29; Kansas, 40; Hawaii, 20; New York, 95; Maine, 24; Oregon, 28; Kentucky, 45. Assume that Romney “loses” these proportional representation states but still gets his share of the delegates — loses to Newt: Arkansas, 36; Alabama, 50; Mississippi, 40; Louisiana, 46. Loses to Santorum: Oklahoma, 43; Tennessee, 58; Colorado, 26; Minnesota, 40; Missouri, 52.

Then, in that case, here’s how the delegate total would stack up on May 22nd:

— Romney: 837.

— Santorum: 332.

— Gingrich: 336.

— Paul: 127.

With 1,144 total delegates needed to nominate a candidate, we would be well into May without a nominee.

Then, let’s assume that Santorum and Gingrich win Texas (155 delegates by proportional representation), but Romney gets his proportional share — a third of Texas’ delegates are chosen on winner-take-all. Assume Gingrich wins them. Then assume Romney and Santorum split Iowa, 28, and Romney wins the proportional representation battle in Washington state, 43. That’s still no majority for anyone.

It would not be until June 5th that a nominee would emerge if Romney wins the winner-take-all states of California, 172; Montana, 25; New Jersey, 50; South Dakota, 28; and Utah, 40. He would also have to win the proportional state of New Mexico, 23. At that point, Romney would have 1,250 delegates, about a hundred more than he would need for a majority.

Waiting until June 5th for a nominee against an incumbent president is an unacceptable risk.

But what if Romney loses just a handful of these states? It would throw the convention into deadlock. Nobody would have a first ballot majority, and this internecine warfare would drag on until the convention itself.

If we are to avoid a deadlock, we have to hope one candidate or another wins them all. And that probably, at this stage, means Romney.

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