Santorum Takes a Break – Like Cain Did?

April 5, 2012

This column is in the realm of pure speculation – I have no facts to back up what I’m beginning to suspect.  But I’m based out of Las Vegas, and here in Vegas we tend to look at the odds, the trends, “the line,” and try to figure out what that means.

Qualifiers aside, when a candidate who’s the “valiant underdog” in a hotly-contested race decides to take the better part of a week off the campaign trail “to spend time with his family,” you’ve got to wonder what’s behind it.  Especially when that candidate just took a severe drubbing in a primary where it once seemed he had a chance (and if he’d won it, the primary election campaign would be looking very different right now).  Here’s the facts behind his campaign hiatus: (http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpps/news/santorum-taking-four-day-break-from-campaign-trail-dpgonc-20120404-kh_19029840#ixzz1r7jXPfEr).

Do you remember Herman Cain?  In addition to being the Poster Child for Bad Crisis Management Run Amok, Herman is the man who – when faced with a crisis that seemed intent on derailing his campaign, vowed to fight on, but decided to take a few days off the campaign trail to spend time with his family.  since then, we haven’t seen Herman at all (though we’ve seen some new oddball TV commercials that seemed to be the hallmark of his campaign).

Does this mean that Santorum is getting ready to bow out?  Maybe.   But let’s look at the facts:

1.  During the first half of the primary campaign season, he’s won just under 25% of all the delegates (earlier this week, in Wisconsin, he won only 10% of the delegates) – but moving forward, unless he wins 75% of all the remaining delegates, he won’t win the nomination.  The numbers don’t look promising.

2.  During the first half of the primary season, not one of Santorum’s various strategies have taken off.  For months, he’s been focusing on attacking Romney, and if Wisconsin is any measure, that strategy isn’t working – he’s actually slipping a bit, at least in terms of new delegates.  Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any strategy likely to turn the election around.  Romney would have to self-destruct in a particularly spectacular fashion for Santorum to have a prayer of winning, and so far, Romney doesn’t look like he’s going to melt down.

3.  Santorum is having an increasingly hard time raising campaign funds – donors, even those who passionately prefer Santorum, are now looking at throwing good money after bad if they keep underwriting Santorum.  And without a massive infusion of new capital, it’s unlikely that Santorum will be able to wage anything more than a guerrilla campaign, one that keeps him “alive” while he hopes that Romney melts down.

4.  Finally, while the next primary is in Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania, it’s now starting to look like he may not even carry that state, which would be a humiliation as well as a defeat, and would slam the door on his campaign in the most dramatic fashion.  Dick Morris has noted that Santorum doesn’t even have delegates in all of his home state’s precincts, making a win even harder to imagine.  That could be something which, emotionally (and in terms of pride), Rick might just want to avoid.

While Rick Santorum isn’t facing the kind of scandal that took out Herman Cain, he’s otherwise in Cain’s position.  None of the “smart money” in politics is taking him seriously – and even his most ardent fans can run the numbers and see he’s an increasingly long-shot with each passing day.  He may have reached the point where he has been forced to face facts:  His attacks on Romney haven’t worked, so absent a Romney self-immolation, he can’t win.  Worse, he can’t raise money, so even if those attacks started to work (and there’s no reason to think they will), he can’t afford to keep attacking.

So Rick Santorum is shutting down his campaign for four days, “to spend more time with his family.”  Will he be coming back?  This Las Vegan is projecting that he’s going to pull a Herman Cain and end his campaign now, before it becomes any more embarrassing to him.

 


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