Next Up in the GOP Contest

By Nancy L. Cohen, March 12, 2012

Mar. 12, 2012

In about 15 hours another small group of Republican voters heads to the polls in Mississippi and Alabama. Now, what happens in this year’s general election really, really matters. But I’ve been finding myself less and less moved to follow the twists and turns in the GOP primary, because I’m pretty convinced Romney will be the nominee. (As I said before Super Tuesday.) With the 24/7 festival of punditry I was starting to doubt my own judgment. Then I came across this article by Tom Schaller in today’s The Futility of Campaign 2012: The Horse Race is Over. Schaller is a great political scientist and I relied on his research in many instances in my book Delirium: How the Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America. So, if he says so, listen. He’s also a fun writer. Here’s a sample of the article, well worth a full read (especially where he gets into the intraparty ideological struggle). I do still think the next few months will expose even more about the GOP’s essential sexual fundamentalism, and that will be a salutary lesson for mainstream America. But I think Schaller’s right, as far as the ‘horse race’….

None of this matters.

Not Iowa or New Hampshire. Not South Carolina or even Ohio. Not Mitt Romney’s gaffes, nor Newt Gingrich’s impertinence, nor Rick Santorum’s sanctimonies. Not Sheldon Adelson, not Foster Freiss and not even Rush Limbaugh.

The 2012 Republican presidential primary may leave a few lasting memories, and could do some irrevocable damage to the GOP brand. President Barack Obama will undoubtedly end up a bit bruised. But mostly it’s pointless, because the 2012 presidential election is effectively over right now: All of the available data indicate that Romney will be the Republican nominee by end of spring, and Barack Obama will be the victor come fall. And the week after the 44th president wins a second term we can then turn our collective attention to what should be a far more interesting 2016 presidential cycle.

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Nancy L. Cohen