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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Romney Is Winning With Republicans, But Not With The American People.

Las Vegas may be the American capital of gambling, but the odds aren’t very exciting in Saturday’s Nevada Republican caucuses: Election stat guru Nate Silver projects a 100% chance that Mitt Romney will win again, dispatching Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, while solidifying Romney’s status as the near-certain Republican nominee. Yes, there are caveats. Very few actual delegates have been awarded. Super PACs mean that an Sheldon Adelson here and a Foster Friess there can help keep Romney’s rivals afloat for a while longer. And Romney keeps making comments borrowed from the script of a Dickens villain. Still, the primary circus is getting ready to leave town.

 Romney must be feeling good about his path thus far. It wasn’t always smooth. But overall Romney designed and executed an impressive, corporate-style campaign plan that overcame some massive structural weaknesses, like his past moderation on social issues and the fact that his Massachusetts health care plan closely resembles Obama’s version. He established himself in early 2011 as the presumptive front-runner by methodically raising cash, building a crack campaign team, and sharpening his own speaking and debate skills. When some political analysts assumed the Tea Party would disembowel him with his health care record, Romney mounted an articulate and confident defense that parried the attacks well enough. His defense also averted a new flip-flop that would reignite the narrative that he abandons any politically unprofitable position. And all that preparation–not to mention, let’s be honest, the blessing of some inept and self-destructive primary rivals–will be on display when Nevada hands him a near-certain victory on Saturday.

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