That the Republican nomination is finally within Mitt Romney’s grasp would be slightly more impressive if he weren’t competing against certifiable lunatics. Tuesday’s victory in Illinois was impressive nonetheless, with results indicating that Romney may even be gaining ground on his opponents among those Republicans who consider themselves certifiable lunatics–an important constituency that until now seemed the former Massachusetts governor was unable to sway.
Romney captured 41 out of the available 54 delegates in the Midwestern state this week, outperforming even Rick Santorum among those voters who identify with the Tea Party (45% say they voted for Romney, while 37% went for Santorum). Indeed, if Romney performs well throughout April, it will be unlikely that he will face an open Republican convention. An adviser to the campaign has said that the team is “100 percent confident that he will go to Tampa as the nominee of the Republican Party.” In a Fox News interview on Tuesday (he gave no speech) Gingrich disagreed, saying that a brokered convention is still likely. “We’ll have a real conversation about who can best beat Barack Obama,” ostensibly referring to Romney and not the guy who wants to use moonlight reflected by mirrors in space to light highways, or alternatively the guy who recently said that, for him, the unemployment rate “doesn’t matter.”
Of course, one might say that Romney’s inevitability makes some sense considering the fact that in February the campaign, together with its associated superPAC (Restore Our Future), outspent all of its opponents combined. It’s also, however, due to an understanding among mainstream Republicans that Romney has the best chance to beat Obama in November. Of course, this only holds true if women don’t vote in the general election. A poll this week from the swing state of Virginia shows Obama trouncing Romney 50 to 42 percent. Among women, the poll shows Obama hypothetically beating Romney 52 to 39 percent. It also holds true if people believe some of the stuff coming out of Romney’s mouth, like that Obama is to blame for high gasoline prices (In fact, oil prices are determined by the global market) and that the president should make it clear to Iran that the United States will not allow it to acquire nuclear weapons (Obama has actually made this annoyingly clear to the point. This in spite of a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate that affirmed that Tehran halted its weapons program in 2003). So, in conclusion, if women don’t vote and no one fact checks any of Romney’s statements, then he will most certainly win the general election in a landslide.