R.S. McCain (At "The Other McCain") gets it 100% right:
Look at the exit polls: In Ohio, Romney got only 81% of the conservative vote, while Obama got 88% of the liberal vote. Thirty-five percent of Ohio voters called themselves conservative, as compared to 22% who identified as liberal. If Romney had gotten a larger share of the conservative vote, he would have won Ohio. Now, here are the truly frightening numbers: Obama got 44% of the Catholic vote in Ohio, and 29% of the evangelical (or “born again”) Protestant vote.
Is Jonah Goldberg willing to admit what seems obvious to me, namely that nominating a moderate Mormon contributed to the weakening of GOP support among conservative Christians? Isn’t it possible that an adamantly pro-life Catholic would have done better?
Without getting into too much detail as to how various state delegations subsequently changed their candidate preferences, the key point arising from these primary result tables is obvious. In primary after primary Mitt Romney won with a plurality.Of the 38 primary voting areas Romney achieved over 50% of the vote in only 10, with 5/10 coming at the end of the process when he was the obvious winner.
In the 'Super Tuesday" group of states Romney received only 38% of the vote with Gingrich and Santorum totalling 50%, there would be little doubt that if there had been one, or two major candidate/s opposing Romney he would not have come to the convention as the candidate.
If the right had settled on one candidate early on, and voted accordingly, then Romney would not have been the nominee. It would have been wrong, given so many were interested in running to, as some are calling for now, ask that only one candidate goes forward in the early stages as the voters needed to hear the various candidates positions and see their mettle.
However, once it became obvious that some just couldn't cut it e.g Huntsman and Bachman then pressure should have come on those who garnered low voting levels to pull out and support those who had a better chance.
If that had happened the the continuous three or four candidate split on the right would not have happened and, at least, there would have been a brokered or free delegate chosen candidate who better represented the wishes of the rank and file.
The GOP structural team recognise also the faultiness of having a too early delegate scramble as it assists the Dem's in "defining" negatively of course the eventual Republican standard bearer whilst showing fissures in the ranks. Palin alluded to this when she stated exactly that criticism of the GOP's 2012 campaign.
In 2016 then the right should find a mechanism of coalescing around one or two candidates. If there are a multiplicity of good conservative possibilities some sort of pre-primary mechanism must be found to limit the number campaigning including perhaps some sort of structural mechanism.
The primary campaign should kick off as near the the convention as is possible and should be a campaign of ideas not personalities.
If the Dem's don't have a front runner then the GOP should,as the Dem's did to them in 2012 spend freely and pointedly in defining the negative attributes of their candidates-especially the front runners.
Imagesfrom Wikipedia AT THIS LINK