Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rick Santorum's Phyrric Victory In Louisiana

Rick Santorum's victory in the Louisiana Primary yesterday was a Pyhrric victory since he's still way behind on the delegate count. Here's the current delegate count: 
Despite the fact that Rick Santorum won ten delegates while Mitt Romney won five delegates in Louisiana, it won't be enough for him to catch up because the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the electoral math doesn't work for Rick Santorum. He cannot get the necessary 1,140 delegates needed to win. As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post points out, there's just no way for Rick Santorum to win the Republican nomination: 
Romney still leads by about 300 delegates . With 568 delegates to Santorum’s 273 Romney, Romney needs only 576 more delegates, about 46 percent of the remaining delegates. Santorum would need to win about 70 percent, and that just isn’t going to happen.
Not only is Rick Santorum behind in the delegate count, but he's cannot catch up to Mitt Romney's campaign funds:
As of the February 29, 2012 FEC filing, Romney had more than $7.3 million in his campaign war-chest with no debt versus $2.6 million with almost $1 million in debt for Santorum. Additionally the Super PAC supporting Romney had vastly more money than the organization behind Santorum.
Try as they might, neither Senator Santorum nor his Super PAC is in Governor Romney’s league in fund-raising and these margins will widen as time progresses.
The next primary contests don't look too good for Rick Santorum in which 98 delegates are up for grabs in  Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia will be voting on April 3rd. To make matters worse for Santorum, all three states are winner take all contests and Mitt Romney is expected to win all three states. Mitt Romney will easily win Washington D.C. since Rick Santorum did not make the ballot on that state. As a result, Mitt will get 19 free delegates.
Then on April 24th, five states are holding their primaries. Those states are New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. A total of 231 delegates are available on that day. New York is a winner take all state with 95 delegates at stake and Pennsylvania is also a winner take all state with 72 delegates at stake. Mitt Romney is expected to win four of the five states on that day with Rick Santorum winning Pennsylvania. However, some people think that its possible that Mitt Romney can win all five. 
Either way, the future doesn't look good for Rick Santorum. 


  1. A phyrric victory is a victory gained only at devastating costs. Was there some extreme penalty that Santorum paid for this win or were you misusing the term? Did you mean a "hollow victory"?

    1. No, it was a victory that came at a devastating cost. Jennifer Rubin makes this point more clearly that I did:

      "Mitt Romney won more than 25 percent of the votes and will therefore split the delegates. The most likely split would give Santorum 10 delegates and Romney five. Santorum will therefore gain the equivalent of half of the delegates from the Northern Mariana Islands, whose nine delegates went to Romney."


      In other words, its a loss to Santorum because his victory in Louisiana didn't make a dent in his quest to catch up to Mitt Romney in the delegate count.

  2. No. That's not a "devastating loss". A Phyrric victory would be if, in order to win the 10 delegates in Louisiana (net gain of 5 against Romney, net gain of 10 against Gingrich),
    - Santorum had promised something that prompted 50 delegates to change their loyalty and abandon Santorum or
    - the positions he took in order to curry favor in Louisiana had destroyed his chances in future primaries/caucuses or
    - he had spent 90% of his campaign war chest on ads in Louisiana leaving him essentially broke for the coming contests or
    - his campaigning appearances there precluded him from campaigning elsewhere, in locations where he would have gained critical endorsements and popular support if he had just showed up.

    If he had spent no money or time in Louisiana yet taken ALL the delegates at stake there, he still wouldn't have "made a dent in his quest to catch up" because there were so few delegates to capture. Would that have still been a Phyrric victory in your estimation?

    I agree that Santorum didn't sting Romney with the results of the Louisiana contest but it was far from Phyrric victory.