Last night, Rick Santorum accomplished a nice triple-play, winning the non-binding caucuses in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado. Opinions here at the Tatler seem to be either that it matters a great deal, or that it hardly matters at all. Personally, I think it matters, but not to an excessive degree.
It matters because there’s a vast majority of people out there that only pay close attention to politics between Labor Day and the first week of November in even-numbered years, and the rest of the time politics isn’t one of their primary daily concerns. I think those of us that write for, comment on, and/or read blogs sometimes forget that.
When these Non-Political-Wonks (NPWs) turn on their favorite news channel today, or pick up the newspaper, they’re going to be greeted by the news that…
- Santorum jolts GOP presidential race with 3-state sweep (CNN)
- Rick Santorum Sweeps: Stops Mitt Romney in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado (ABC)
- Santorum gets second wind with sweep in Minn., Mo., Colo. (MSNBC)
- Santorum hopes to build momentum from 3-state sweep (CBS)
- Santorum sweep puts pressure on Gingrich going into Super Tuesday (Fox News)
In short, they’re gonna see a headline that says “Santorum is a winner!” And Americans love to back a winner… that’s why so many people from all over the country claimed to be New York Yankee fans when the Yanks were winning World Series after World Series, but suddenly dropped away when they stopped winning the Fall Classic. (I’m sure Bryan would say the same thing about the Dallas Cowboys, but I’m a baseball fan, though not a Yankees fan.. but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)
It’s the perception that Santorum is a winner that matters here. When the NPWs see that, they’ll be more willing to donate to his campaign, to name him as their choice in polls, and it’ll make them that much more willing to vote for him in their state’s primary. In short, the momentum of the race has changed, and Santorum is the one with the wind at his back right now.