"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mississippi and Alabama Today

The Mississippi and Alabama primaries are today.   If I had to bet, I'd say that Santorum manages to pull out Alabama in a close one over Gingrich, with Romney a close third.   And Romney, largely because of endorsements and support from the MS party apparatus (a very corrupt state, by the way), pulls out a close win in Mississippi over Santorum, with Gingrich a close third..   Both will claim victories of sorts:  Romney because he won a Southern state and stopped Santorum's momentum (and because he will also win the Hawaii primary, which has received less attention); Santorum because he won a state in the deep South and beat Gingrich in both, claiming the mantle of the last "true conservative" left standing.   Then it will get interesting.    Gingrich will have run well in both states, and will probably still have nearly as many delegates to date as Santorum.    But there will then be pressure on Gingrich to drop out to allow Santorum to run against Romney mano-a-mano.   I don't know what will happen then.   Gingrich is mercurial enough that he could stay in just to spite Santorum, or could get out just to spite Romney.   That mercurial nature is just one reason he'd make a bad President.   

The latest RealClearPolitics poll of polls shows a tightening race between Santorum and Romney nationally.  

But as the sine wave-like data over time shows, these polls can change week-to-week as the casual voter shifts allegiances from candidate to candidate, depending on who appears to be likeliest to win.   This is one of my new theories of politics.... because we live in an affluent, somewhat decadent culture where people's attention span is limited, and where people are taught to think of politics in sports terms, i.e., through the prism of winning and losing, tactics and strategies, rather than policies that have real-world consequences.... because of that, too many people will simply try to vote for who they think will be the winner.   If Romney looks like the winner, people will jump on board.   If momentum shifts to Santorum, people will jump from Romney to Santorum.   They won't be able to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or the likely oil price-spike to follow from an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear reactors, or the media manipulation by protesters in Afghanistan, or the economic effect of killing the Keystone pipeline, or the relationship between seasonally-adjusted and not seasonally-adjusted unemployment numbers.... but they want to vote for a winner.  

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