Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia turns out to be, it’s time for Rick Santorum to call it quits. He’s had his day in the sun; he’s shown that he can compete on the national stage; and he’s rehabilitated his sagging political career. Now it’s time for him to fold up his tent and go home, or he risks losing the credibility and goodwill that he has created.
Going into the April 3 primaries, Romney has 568 GOP delegates compared to Santorum’s 273. To win the GOP nomination, Romney has to win about 46% of the remaining delegates, and Santorum needs to win more than 70% of them. Although it’s not mathematically impossible for Santorum to win the nomination, the probability of him winning is rapidly approaching zero, especially when you factor into the equation the latest polling data.
The most recent NBC News/Marist poll shows Romney leading Santorum in Wisconsin by 7 points — 40% to 33%. If that lead stands, he’ll get all of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Romney leading Santorum in Maryland by 17 points — 45% to 28%. If that lead holds, he’ll pick up all of Maryland’s 37 delegates. A few days ago, Romney won a straw poll in D.C. with 72% of the vote while Santorum got just 8.1%. Although he has virtually ignored D.C., Romney will win all of the District’s 16 delegates. As you can see, the math doesn’t look good for Santorum going into Tuesday’s primaries, but it will look worse, much worse on Wednesday morning.
Thankfully, Santorum has softened his approach a bit lately and is beginning to focus more of his attention on President Obama, but that’s not enough. He’s becoming a distraction and a problem, and he’s helping to make what promises to be a challenging fall campaign even rougher for Mitt Romney. Santorum continues to make biting remarks about Romney despite the fact that it’s becoming obvious to almost everyone except Santorum that Romney will be the GOP nominee. According to the New York Times,
He [Santorum] still reserves plenty of derision for Mr. Romney, mocking him repeatedly as the “Etch A Sketch” candidate whose conservative values are malleable and insincere.”