Not many surprises last night, though I do have to say that, with 70 percent of precincts reporting from Ohio, and with Rick Santorum up by some 15,000 votes I called Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas “crazy” over Twitter for maintaining that it would nevertheless be a razor-thin victory for Mitt Romney. Sure, the major metropolitan areas were still out, and that is Romney territory. But it is also Catholic territory, and I was fairly certain that fact would somewhat ameliorate Romney’s gains. This proved wrong and stupid. They called Ohio for Romney not long after the man took the lead. Soon after, on MSNBC’s coverage, former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt remarked that he didn’t understand all this talk of “silver medals.” You either win, or you don’t, the man explained. This is about as wrong as my Santorum call for Ohio. Like I previously pointed out here at Salty Eggs, every primary on Super Tuesday awards delegates proportionally — so there are, in fact silver medals.
In Ohio, the counting is not quite done, but as of yet, according to the count at Realclearpolitics.com, Romney has taken 35 delegates of the state’s 66 and Santorum has 21. So there are, in fact, silver medals in these races. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win, and Romney will not hit that mark until at least halfway through May, probably longer. My own delegate-counting math, extremely rough as it is, has Romney winning the nomination outright on June 5, when California and New Jersey have their primaries, along with several other states. But the Golden and Garden states are the important ones here, both for their high delegate counts (172 for Cali, 50 for NJ) and the fact that both primaries are winner-take-all, unlike every election last night. Once Romney nets those 222 delegates, the race should be over.
Everything until then, all the hyperventilating in the media, can be summed up by Macbeth in his final scene: “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Shakespeare knew politics, ace. That’s why the Tudors come off looking like saints in his historical plays, while their ancient enemies the House of York look like the worst parts of Lex Luthor and Snidely Whiplash. The Great Tragedy of the Gingrich and Santorum Campaigns in Five Acts will go on for months, until their inevitable killing in the final scene of the fifth act. So maybe Schmidt was right. Maybe there are no silver medals in these races, regardless of individual second place wins in proportional primaries. Because if all you do is win silver medals, eventually, you’re gonna lose. And that’s what the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns face come June.