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Does Newt Gingrich actually have a chance?

Even before Newt Gingrich formally entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination last spring, I was saying here that he had no chance whatever of winning the nod.

I doubled-down on that bet when the former speaker of the House stumbled badly coming out of the gate, and I’ve had little reason to change my mind on that score even as the rest of the GOP field has become something of a laughingstock.

But several of our Applesauce commenters have contended of late that the Newtster could still emerge from far back in the pack and win the prize as his rivals trip over one another.

And now, THIS GUY paints a scenario that’s improbable but not impossible:

Normally, a candidate would need to win at least one of the early critical primaries to be considered a real contender. And in Gingrich’s case, that seems highly unlikely. But this year, the GOP is preparing an historic change in its primary rules: instead of winner-rake-all contests, delegates in most primaries may well be assigned proportionately, based on the share of the vote received. That means even second- and third-place finishers could well survive all the way up to the convention, and might find themselves in a powerful brokering role. Gingrich, for all his new-found enthusiasm for campaigning, is highly unlikely to win any of the major primaries but he could conceivably accumulate enough delegates over time to finish in the top tier — perhaps, as his poll numbers, suggest, third in the overall delegate total.

So here’s one possible scenario: Romney, leveraging his support among party moderates, wins in New Hampshire and Florida, but remains pitted against Cain, who, with strong support from the tea party, captures South Carolina and Iowa, leaving the GOP badly split. Even worse, neither wing of the party is prepared to back the other’s candidate. In this scenario, Gingrich, already trusted by the Tea party far more than Romney, and by party moderates and the GOP establishment far more than Cain or even Perry, could become everyone’s favorite second choice. Thus, seemingly from out of nowhere, and with no single primary win to point to, Gingrich could find himself the nominee.

 UPDATE: There’s more on this matter HERE:

[T]here are signs that Republicans are giving Gingrich another look. Fundraising has picked up after his strong debate performances and amid the continued frostiness that many activist Republicans feel toward presumed front-runner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

One by one, hot new alternatives to Romney have arisen and stumbled: first Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, then Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive Herman Cain has shot up in the polls, though his vulnerabilities become more apparent with every news cycle. So more than a few who have been turning out lately to see Gingrich are wondering: Could he be the next would-be Cinderella to try on the not-Romney slippers?

 

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