Doing the math

Hugh Hewitt “does the math” for Super Tuesday and concludes that the Republican race is “far, far from over.” Hugh shows that even if Romney doesn’t do very well on Super Tuesday, McCain’s likely delegate count at the end of that night will still fall well short of what he needs to capture the nomination.
The problem I see, though, is that unless Romney makes major strides in delegate collection he’s doomed because Mike Huckabee would gleefully throw in with McCain in exchange for the vice presidency, and a majority of his delegates would likely follow. It would be unfortunate if Romney did just well enough to induce McCain to pick Huckabee (of whom McCain has often spoken kindly) for the number two spot.
That said, I hope that Romney perseveres. McCain should not be coronated based on winning three of the five races he competed in, and never with even 40 percent of the vote. The less than overwhelming wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida should be ratified on a large scale before McCain becomes the Republican standard bearer.
In all likelihood they will be. Absent some sort of McCain meltdown, Romney’s one hope is that conservatives (including many Huckabee voters) recoil at the prospect of nominating McCain, now that he’s on the doorstep. That hasn’t happened yet, I think because McCain appeals to a decent fraction of the conservative base — e.g. those who think character is most important, those (including many vets) who emphasize national security, and those concerned about electability. For his part, Romney simply turns off some in the base due to some combination of his wealth, his flip-flops, and perhaps his religion.
But none of this is cast in stone, so bring on Super Tuesday.
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