In the American political tradition, Super Tuesday has the potential to create a watershed moment for one presidential candidate. It is the moment when the victorious candidate can declare himself (or herself) the chosen one as regards presidential nominees. In order for Mitt Romney, 2012’s Republican frontrunner, to emerge as the clear victor, the stakes were high. Yet, now that the votes have been counted and the verdict is out, the jury remains hung.
On Super Tuesday, a total of 10 states were up for grabs. Alaska, Oklahoma, and Idaho were just some of the states the held primaries that day, but the focus of the most intense campaigning revolved around Ohio, Georgia, and Michigan. For Rick Santorum, political talking heads stressed the need for the former senator to win Ohio. For Gingrich, a loss in Georgia would have meant the final end of his rollercoaster campaign. But if Romeny wanted to finally silence his naysayers, he needed a collosal victory.
Many of the states went to the expected candidates. Gingrich, who hails from Georgia and represented it as Congressman, did indeed win big in the Peachtree state. There will nevertheless be a caveat in the minds of voters mainly because of the fact that it was the only state that the feisty former Speaker actually won. Although Santorum did not obtain a clear victory in Ohio, neither did Romney. Polls indicate that the latter won by 1 percentage point, which is well within the margin of error. Yet again, Romney failed to prove that he is the clear favorite for blue collar voters.
Worse still for Romney’s campaign is the matter of the three states that Santorum undisputably carried-Tennessee, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Romney bested him by winning only two more states. His strong showing in Super Tuesday will convince many potential conservative donors and voters that Santorum is a viable candidate who may indeed have a chance at beating President Obama. Furthermore, Gingrich’s weak overall showing may finally force him to exit the race, which could mean more conservative voters shifting their allegiance to Santorum’s camp.
There is no doubt that Romney won the most delegates on Super Tuesday. His face will be plastered across the front page of every newspaper, and he is that much closer to securing the necessary delegates for his party’s nomination. However, only the coming weeks will show whether the consensus of his party has truly rallied behind him or if it is still in search of the elusive anti-Romney.