TAMPA, March 31, 2012—In their mad dash to create the long awaited general election narrative, media outlets have pronounced Ron Paul’s campaign dead.
They now speculate about what his supporters may do when he drops out. The Associated Press reports that Romney has over ten times the delegates that Ron Paul has secured. Reuters reports that Paul is far behind in Wisconsin and that his supporters have finally conceded that he can’t win the nomination.
None of this is true. Romney has not secured 568 delegates. Hundreds of those delegates won’t be determined until Republican state conventions, many of which haven’t happened yet.
As I’ve reported before, there is very credible evidence that Ron Paul will emerge from those conventions with the majority of delegates in many states. Texas, New York and California haven’t even held their primaries yet. Those three states alone control over four hundred delegates.
In many states, there is no cause-effect relationship between the popular vote and the delegates awarded to each candidate. Delegates are awarded via a completely separate process that doesn’t utilize the popular vote totals in any way. The purpose of the popular vote is toinform the eventual delegates of the preferences of voters in their states. That’s why many of those states allow Democrats and independents to vote. They want the delegates to know who those voters prefer. That tells them who has the best chance to win in the general election.
In most years, the media can get away with reporting on the nomination contest as they are now. They can assume that the candidates will receive roughly the same percentage of delegates from each state as the percentage they received in the popular vote. That isn’t accurate reporting, but it usually comes out in the wash, especially as far as the winner is concerned. However, there are many things different in this year’s race and there is a good chance that much of the media are going to look silly come August.
First, Mitt Romney is probably the weakest Republican “frontrunner” in several decades. Remember, Republicans weren’t exactly energized by John McCain and he soundly defeated Romney four years ago.
Romney’s campaign has been able to get supporters to take fifteen minutes to stop at a polling place and pull a lever, but it’s much more difficult to get them to participate in a delegate process that takes months to complete.
Ron Paul’s supporters are completely the opposite. While he has not pulled off a “beauty contest” win, his supporters are willing to walk through fire to see him become president. They have learned Robert’s Rules of Order, stayed behind after caucus popular votes, and taken over the delegations in many counties in caucus states.