In the meantime, Newt Gingrich — who is not giving in and will be carrying on his campaign until the convention — is arguing that he remains the only sound conservative alternative to Romney. With the forthcoming endorsement of him today by Donald Trump, he gains both a new ally and a possible new source of funding aside from Sheldon Adelson. Moreover, Gingrich is already attacking Romney for yesterday’s gaffe, portraying himself as one who is not seeking to turn classes against each other and who understands the plight of the poor and the middle class.
At present, Romney still polls as the only electable candidate in the general election. That is why William Galston, writing in TNR, warns Democrats “that President Obama faces a tougher reelection campaign than many now think.” Those conservatives who back Newt Gingrich should look at Galston’s meticulous examination of the polls. An addendum to the article Galston posted on January 30 cites the latest Gallup poll of swing state voters:
This morning, Gallup released the latest in its series of polls focused on twelve swing states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Three results stand out. (1) President Obama blows out Newt Gingrich by 14 points in those states (and 12 points nationally). There is no credible evidence that Gingrich would be competitive with the president, let alone a stronger challenger than Romney. (2) Obama and Romney are statistically tied: it’s Romney 48, Obama 47 in the swing states and 48-48 nationally. And most important, (3): despite changes in the political environment, a more aggressive stance by the president, and the emergence of less than flattering information about Mitt Romney, the Obama-Romney contest hasn’t moved much in many months.
The race, in other words, will be very, very close. A Gingrich nomination would mean the inevitability of an Obama victory in the general race for the presidency. Now, as many pundits have noted, it is possible for both Romney and Gingrich to get to the end of the process with almost an equal amount of delegates, leading then to a brokered convention, and perhaps the entry into the race at the last moment of an as-yet-unannounced candidate.
To avoid this outcome, which could in fact also help Obama in the campaign since he would be facing a fractured and despairing Republican Party, it is important to now unite behind Mitt Romney and prevent further harmful bloodletting. It is also equally important that Romney do some studying and stop himself from further harmful and shortsighted gaffes, in which he has to continually come out and explain to the public what he really meant to say.
If the election is as serious as we say it is, and if we mean it when we proclaim that our country cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama, we have to unite now and stand with Mitt Romney. There is no other wise course that can be taken.
Addendum: 3 p.m. EST
USA Today and the AP confirm that Donald Trump is endorsing Mitt Romney, not Newt Gingrich! This morning, the Gingrich campaign had claimed the opposite, and most news reporters, including John Heilemann on Morning Joe, thought that Trump was backing Gingrich. Obviously, this now mitigates the point I made about Gingrich’s ability to stay in the race. It also indicates a wider support for Romney among those who otherwise might be critical. See: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2012/02/donald-trump-endorse-mitt-romney-newt-gingrich-/1