“It could all come down to California” — and *then* what?

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Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, and Romney superimposed over California

Oh yes!

Those words!  Those beautiful words!

“It could all come down to California.”

Say those words out loud and they might wend their way into the ears of a Republican campaign consultant — hell, even a Democratic campaign consultant willing to take on a hatchet job on the side.

“It could all come down to California.”

Those words need not even be said for the owners of radio and television stations, cable TV franchises, newspapers, and, um, political blogs to start quivering with delight.

“It could all come down to California!”

Eyes wide, nostrils flaring, jaws hanging slack with a large bubble of spit crowning the mouth when the realization hits.

IT.  COULD!  COME!

DOOOOOOWN TO CALIFORNIA!

Democrats who have been watching the debate are already dancing around with a fervor that would put Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor to shame.  Ohhhhhhh — we drink your milkshake!  We suck up allllllll of your money.  You think you can get more?  Great!  We look forward to keeping track of all of your many donors — more and more reluctant as your fight comes more and more to resemble the one between Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, just before they enter the shop with the dungeon.

It’s imaginable now!

Romney is a wounded sea calf, bleeding into the ocean water, gamely flapping his flippers as the realization sets in that the one thing he needs is the one thing that money can’t buy: the ability to convincingly empathize with the voting public.  Clear brush if you want to, sea calf boy, it’s not going to matter!  You have been defined!  You could start chewing tobacco and roping steers and it wouldn’t matter at this point.  The look of terror on your face at being exposed as — not someone of another better species than the rest of us, but someone who thinks that he is — has drilled down into the souls of viewers.

“Willard Romney, are you really a flesh and blood human being?”

“M-m-m-maybe?”

But he’ll have a lot of delegates!

“It’s not over yet!  It’s a long haul!  Super Tuesday!  It comes down to who will have the most money!  The fact that it hasn’t — that’s just … puzzling.  But never mind!  My people are working on it!  I’m in it to win it!”

I was an Edwards guy, and then an Obama guy, though I never hated Hillary — but I remember the look in Hillary’s face as she tried to explain away her confabulations about Tuzla.  “Being a politician is work, Hillary,” I thought.  “Your husband was great at it because he’s been pressing the flesh for decades!  You haven’t practiced!  You’re great one-on-one, but the Presidency is a wholesale purchase — and not just with ads.”

Romney is doing, and will continue doing, well enough to keep himself in the race, to keep any Jeb Bush or Condi Rice or Mitch Daniels-type savior from coming in.  He’ll make the point that he can win enough delegates.  He can win them in — CALIFORNIA! The biggest and the (next to) last.  Winner-take-all by district, baby!  You can’t GET any more expensive than that!

Meanwhile, the big problem that Newt Gingrich has is that much of his party’s political establishment hates him.  Not normal “hates him” — not “the Party Establishment view of Howard Dean in 2004” hates him.  I mean hates him hates him.  They hate him like they would hate Howard Dean if, in addition to being an anti-war progressive, he had personally pulled off their pants, pushed them down a staircase, and laughed about it.  They’ve worked with this guy; they know who and what he is.  Hates him.

But it looks like he’ll win a lot of delegates!  And it might come down to California!

Then there’s Ron Paul, the wart that will not go away no matter how many trips you take to the doctor.  He’s here.  He’s staying.  He seems to have a core constituency of 20% (give or take 5-10 depending on the state) of the party and they are not in a mood to bargain.  He’ll get a lot of delegates too, and they have an objective in mind: a brokered convention where Ron Paul is the Decider.  Will he want to write the platform?  No, I think we’re past that point now.  He’ll want the Vice-Presidency (for him or maybe for son Rand), maybe to name various Cabinet offices, maybe for proofs of intent during this very Congress, where unless Republicans give him what he wants he’ll do God knows what.

At some point it will be too late for him to run third-party, but you know what?  Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is going to need a Vice-Presidential candidate, and it’s not too late for that! Paul’s message will be clear: “Deal, or be dealt with.”  And if and when it comes down to California, he’ll get his share of delegates.  A lot of people here like him.

Meanwhile, Santorum is just going to keep on hanging out, possibly at some point putting his campaign in the refrigerator rather than the freezer, waiting for either Gingrich or Romney to blow up so that he can step into the “Anybody But …” role.  He probably won’t get delegates in California, unless one of them drops out, but that’s OK.  Gingrich could implode even after the convention.

If you look at the delegate layout, if (and assuming) Gingrich wins Florida, you can see the trace of it.  You can see how no one gets a majority of delegates.  (I’ve pasted in the whole schedule below.)  Remember the 2008 Democratic race?  Once it got past Super Tuesday, the trajectory of the fight was hard to deflect.  (Hillary knows — she tried.)  And if we’re heading towards deadlock, deadlock may be where we end up.  2008 didn’t have a strong third candidate coming from a totally different political space; in Paul, 2012 does.

Anytime you hear the words “brokered convention” remind yourself : that means that it’s coming down to California.  And, for the Republican Party, that means that it’s coming down to Orange County, where such decisions are made.

My question to you is: if it comes down to California, with the delegates to that point being something like 40% for Gingrich, 40% for Romney, and 10% for Paul — with 10% being uncommitted or maybe die-hard Cain supporters who just won’t give up — how do you see it playing out?  Who’s working for whom?  With what predicted success?

Republicans, this goes out especially for you: come in and give us your predictions!

 

Tuesday, January 3:
Iowa caucuses (Democratic and Republican) 

Tuesday, January 10:
New Hampshire

Saturday, January 21:
Nevada Democratic caucuses
South Carolina Republican primary

Saturday, January 28:
South Carolina Democratic primary

Tuesday, January 31:
Florida


Saturday, February 4:

(through February 11) Maine Republican caucuses
Nevada Republican caucuses

Tuesday, February 7:

Colorado Republican caucuses
Minnesota Republican caucuses
Missouri (Democratic primary, non-binding for Missouri Republicans)
Tuesday, February 28:
Arizona Republican primary
Michigan

 

Saturday, March 3:
Washington Republican caucuses 

Tuesday, March 6 (Super Tuesday):
Alaska Republican district conventions

Colorado Democratic caucuses
Georgia
Idaho Republican caucuses

Massachusetts
Minnesota Democratic caucuses
North Dakota Republican caucuses
Ohio
Oklahoma
Tennessee
Vermont
Virginia
(through March 10) Wyoming Republican caucuses 

Wednesday, March 7:
Hawaii Democratic caucuses

Saturday, March 10:
Kansas Republican caucuses
Virgin Islands caucuses

Sunday, March 11:
Maine Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 13:
Alabama
American Samoa Republican caucuses

Hawaii Republican caucuses
Mississippi
Utah Democratic caucuses 

Saturday, March 17:
Missouri Republican caucuses

Sunday, March 18:
Puerto Rico Republican caucuses

Tuesday, March 20:

Illinois 

Saturday, March 24:
Louisiana

Saturday, March 31:
Arizona Democratic caucuses


Tuesday, April 3:
Maryland
Texas
Washington, DC
Wisconsin 

Saturday, April 14:
Idaho Democratic caucuses
Kansas Democratic caucuses
Nebraska Democratic caucuses
Wyoming Democratic caucuses

Sunday, April 15:

Alaska Democratic caucuses
Washington Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, April 24:

Connecticut
Delaware
New York
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island

Saturday, May 5:
Florida Democratic caucuses
Michigan Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, May 8:

Indiana
North Carolina
West Virginia 

Tuesday, May 15:

Nebraska
Oregon 

Tuesday, May 22:

Arkansas
Kentucky

Tuesday, June 5:
California
Montana
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Dakota Democratic caucuses
South Dakota

Tuesday, June 26:
Utah (Republicans only)


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)