The prevailing wisdom is that Romney will get the nomination. After all, while Rick and Newt have managed to pull out some winds, Mitt has accumulated the most delegates. Also, Mitt can easily outspend his competition-they are mere millionaires and their superpacs are not quite as super as Mitt’s (or Obama’s).
That said, it is still possible for Romney to lose. Scandals, death, miracles, plagues and so on could come into play. Sarah Palin might decide to join the action. However, the main question at this point is this: who will be the Republican VP pick?
After that, the main question will be whether or not the Republicans can beat Obama or not. Obama has benefited from success abroad (killing Bin Laden) as well as an improved economy. However, Afghanistan could slide into hell and take Obama’s approval rating with it. There is also the fact that although the economy has been steadily improving, it could easily go belly up around election time. There is also the impact of the price of gas (which is largely beyond the president’s control) and, of course, the ever present possibility of some blindsiding disaster.
Interestingly enough, the Republicans need to hope that things start going worse for America. After all, if the economy keeps improving and Obama keeps putting notches in his gun for killing terrorists, then it will be harder to argue that he is wrecking the economy and appeasing America’s enemies.
The Republicans have been trying to hit him on Obamacare and also going after him on social issues. The attack on Obamacare will potentially be blunted a bit by the fact that it was modeled on Romneycare, but people often have short memories in politics and Romney is adept at switching positions. The social issues are a potential win for Republicans, but there are three main concerns. The first is that most voters are more concerned with the economy than anything else. The second is that while the “values voters” are influential in the primaries, they will almost certainly not play as decisive a role in the actual election. Third, the Republicans have made some missteps that have allowed Democrats to present the Republicans as being against women (Santorum’s remarks about women in combat and Rush’s slut comments come to mind). The Republicans will need to work at getting the focus away from women’s rights to focusing on things like religious liberty. The Democrats, of course, have to focus on casting the Republicans as being against women-something the Republicans have made significantly easier in recent days. But, people have short memories.
As a final point, Obama seems to have a clear personality edge over Romney-even Obama’s critics note that he is charismatic. In contrast, even some of Romney’s supporters have expressed dismay about his weakness in this area. Romney should, however, be able to stand up reasonably well in the debates.
But, as should be expected, it will mainly come down to the economy. If things continue to get better, the Republicans will have an uphill battle in convincing people to vote for them. But if the economy starts diving, the Republicans could get a golden ticket.
So, who will be the Republican VP candidate? And, more importantly, who takes it in 2012? Other than Cthulhu, obviously.