For Santorum, meanwhile, things look bleak. Working-class appeal was supposed to boost Santorum’s chances in industrial states like Wisconsin and Illinois. Instead, he has lost both races and is now faced with the dismal prospect of what his own campaign strategists concede is a “make-or-break” test in his home turf of Pennsylvania. Lacking Romney’s resources, however, Santorum will face an uphill challenge to prove that his fading campaign remains competitive.
Santorum’s go-to tactic so far has been to portray Romney as an elitist, out of touch with the economic concerns of most Americans. There is of course abundant evidence for the charge, as illustrated by Romney’s numerous gaffes. His recent attempt at everyman empathy – “I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners” – was almost beyond parody. And yet Santorum’s defeats in Wisconsin and Illinois suggest that he has taken this populist line about as far as it will go. The most coherent message of the GOP primary campaign is that Republicans want to defeat Barack Obama. To the extent that Romney is now viewed by many of these voters as the best candidate to accomplish that mission, Santorum’s jabs are unlikely to change his fading fortunes.
Which is not to say that Romney can rest on his laurels. As Santorum has often and accurately pointed out, the funding advantage that Romney has had in the Republican race will disappear as soon as the presidential race begins in earnest. (Though Santorum never quite explained why, having failed to prevail against Romney’s financial might, he would fare better than the former Massachusetts governor against the White House’s financial juggernaut.) As of last month, Obama had nearly $85 million in his campaign coffers, dwarfing Romney’s $7.3 million. Romney’s march to the nomination has been fraught with struggle, much of it born of his own failure to gain traction with Republican voters. But compared to what lies ahead, it is still the easy part.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
Pages: 1 2