There was a time when Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign played the inevitability card with great effect. Money, organization, and a perception that Romney was the guy who would win was the best booster for El Mitt and the Los Romneys.
Then came Iowa-Colorado-Missouri. And that inevitability card went bye bye.
But now the inevitability argument from Romney is back, this time in the form of the argument that Romney's competition doesn't have a formula to getting to 1,144 delegates.
1,144 is the magic number. It constitutes a majority, thus ending the nomination.
From a Romney campaign email this weekend:
"Mitt won more delegates than any of the other candidates and continued on his path to getting the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. In what was hyped as a big opportunity for Rick Santorum, he again fell short of making a dent in our campaign's already large delegate lead. He won less than 50% of the available delegates on Saturday, well short of the 65% of remaining delegates needed to secure the nomination."
The argument from Santorum's camp seems to be an acknowledgment that Santorum can't easily get to 1,144 by the convention, but neither can Romney, essentially setting up the possibility of a brokered convention. Counters Santorum's campaign in a memo:
“Time is on Rick Santorum's side. He will gain delegates as this process plays out and conservatives are elected as National Convention Delegates. Despite the Romney campaign’s smokescreen, they cannot change the fact that he can’t inspire the base of the party, has a delegate problem, and has a very difficult time getting to a majority.
The delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe. It will get even closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district, and state conventions across the country."
Both campaigns are making fair arguments about delegates, but one is stronger than the other. Santorum doesn't seem to have much of a chance at crossing the 1,144 threshold.
Yes, a brokered convention could happen, but it's not likely with someone like Santorum. Such a scenario would require a movement conservative beloved by the base, and Santorum simply isn't that.
The base may view Romney as a Gerald Ford, but they don't see Santorum as a Ronald Reagan.
Romney’s crawl to 1,144 isn’t the power surge that the Romney campaign had hoped for last year, but as they say…a win is a win is a win. For Romney, winning at this point means clawing his way to 1,144.
As with all things in this wild roller coaster of a nomination fight, we the people will just have to wait and see.