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article imageOp-Ed: Mitt Romney has no path to the White House, GOP set to implode

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 4, 2012 in Politics
There are two things to note at this late stage of the 2012 U.S. presidential race. First, an examination of the polls tells us there is no path to the White House for Mitt Romney to take. Second, this loss will one day lead to bloodletting in the GOP.
You need not look at the numbers nationally to see who will win this election, though the latest have Obama now up by 3 points. Instead look at the contest in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, where the candidates win electoral college votes, with 270 needed for the White House.
Totaling up the numbers from the safe states already in the win column for each candidate and examining what the polls in the swing or battleground states are saying, the likelihood of President Obama not winning a second term is slim to logistically impossible. Without a major Obama gaffe or a reason for a block of voters to breakaway, logic dictates, and rather forcefully, that it's all over but the shouting. And within the GOP there will be shouting; but before that an examination of the race.
Electoral vote count for Obama, Romney
Here's the states in the safe column for Romney: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virgina and Wyoming. That's 23 states - heavily concentrated in the South of the country - that President Obama has virtually no chance of winning.
Here are the certainties for President Obama: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Those 18 states - concentrated in the industrial north and the West - are firmly in the camp of the president.
It pays to win states with larger populations and Obama's top 5 states, California (55), New York (29), Illinois (20), Michigan (16) and New Jersey (14) combine to outpoint Romney's top 5 states, Texas (38), Georgia (16) and three with 11 (Arizona, Indiana and Tennessee), by a score of 134 electoral votes to 87. So Romney and the Republicans start deep in the hole with lots of electoral college ground to make up and not so many states with high electoral numbers to do it with. Overall, after adding up the safe states, Obama leads 217 to 191.
Swing States swinging to Obama
Those numbers wouldn't be so daunting except when it comes to the states still in play, those 10 battleground states, Romney has consistently been behind in 7 of them, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, and tied or behind or ahead in Colorado, Florida and North Carolina. While it appears that North Carolina is almost a certainly for Romney, even more of a certainty statistically is Pennsylvania for Obama.
With the exception of a recent poll by a Republican firm which had the two tied in Pennsylvania, in poll after poll Obama has long been ahead there, the most recent PPP poll Nov. 2 and 3 having him up by 6. Taking Pennsylvania would leave the president just 33 electoral college votes shy of victory and leave Romney needing a comeback of near-monumental proportions.
How can such a comeback occur? Either Obama makes a gaffe large enough to move hundreds of thousands of votes in a number of states, or those voters find another reason to breakaway to Romney. That last scenario, hundreds of thousands in each of many states finding a reason to breakaway without a mistake from Obama, would need a candidate free of baggage, and that's not the case with Mitt Romney.
Voters will still be considering 3 things about the Republican candidate when they enter the ballot box: his refusal to release sufficient income tax returns and the resultant implication that he is hiding something; his dismissing of 47 percent of the electorate as complainers whom he does not have to work for; and the flip-flopping on major issues to appease the extreme right of his party. There will be no major breakaway because Romney has created too much mistrust to allow for it.
'Anything but Obama' a Republican failure
It's been such a hotly contested election largely because so many Republicans loathe - the word hate has been used - Barack Obama, doing so before they'd given him opportunity to show what his policies might do for America. Whether the 'birther' movement or other baseless criticisms harbor racism won't be decided here, suffice to say that the 'anyone but Obama' rallying cry had its share of adherents. Losing to him a second time will cause soul-searching for a party already divided between traditional members and 'Tea Party' adherents.
America is too smart for a Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich or Michelle Bachman, all principles in the Tea Party. Even within the GOP there is opposition to candidates from their extreme, religion-dominated right. For 2012 the party herded forth a motley collection in the primaries and their supporters gave the mandate to the closest to the middle, nervous a Tea Party candidate would fare poorly. But Romney flip-flopped to gain the support of the extremists in the party and his remarks on abortion and government spending have changed throughout the primaries into the election itself, and it hurt him. That blueprint will forever be there - to gain the nomination the candidate will have to alter views, with the result that the electorate will lose trust.
A 2016 loss and GOP may implode
There may be candidates in the future who could win the GOP nomination without pandering to the Tea Party. But to win in 2016 they'll face the vastly improved economic landscape. Romney had a chance because it's taken time for Obama to right the partially submerged ship that was the U.S. economy after the disaster that was George W. Bush and a dovetailing world economy. Further, the youth vote is overwhelmingly Democratic and every four years more young people enter the political arena and more older ones die and therefore exit; that's obviously a trend that will continue. The next election will find the Democrats, and whomever replaces Obama (an American president can serve only two terms), with a much easier road to victory.
If the Republicans do lose in 2016, that's when the bloodletting will come. After 3 straight losses the divided house will be rife with infighting and finally it will split. It will be a historical moment in U.S. history, but look for 3 major parties, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea Party, in 2020. Some would argue it has been brewing a long time, given Ross Perot and Ron Paul, but regardless, with a 2016 loss it will finally arrive in 8 years. What then? Losing the zealots, those increasingly alienating the general American public, will actually help the Republican Party regain its footing. Without the weight of the Tea Party, they'll pick up fiscally more conservative Democrats and again be in contention for the White House.
But in the meantime the Democrats will have a long run as the party of choice in America, with the next chapter set to get underway this Tuesday, Nov. 6.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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