The Politico summarized yesterday's results very clearly: "Mitt Romney wins ugly." In Michigan, the score: Romney 41.1%, Santorum 37.9%, Paul 11.6%, and Gingrich 6.5%. In Arizona, the score: Romney 47.3%, Santorum 26.6%, Gingrich 16.2%, Paul 8.4%. Arizona is "winner take all," so Romney got all of the delegates from that state. While they both are Romney "victories," Santorum is calling Michigan a victory as well; in the delegate count, it was a tie, with Romney and Santorum each earning 15 delegates because they are apportioned by Congressional District. (More on that: The Hill - and a very interesting, and detailed, discussion from The Detroit News).
There will be several enduring controversies from the Michigan primary. One will be the role of Democrats in the Republican race. Santorum organized robo-calls of Democratic voters, encouraging them to vote for him in the primary.
Early in the day, there was "very little evidence" that Democrats heeded his call:
She did say that she'd seen very little evidence of Democratic voters choosing to crossover into the Republican primary. Some of the Santorum-backed robocalls aimed at turning out Democrats for Santorum were reported in the area. Davis, a Democrat, said she received a couple herself.
Davis said she hadn't voted yet, but was disinclined to make mischief.
One of the aspects of this situation that seemed particularly odd is that Santorum previously had commented unfavorably on Democrats in Republican Primaries:
"We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don't even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee," Santorum told voters on the call held January 29. "I don't like that. I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries."
In stark contrast to his campaign's more recent courtship of Democrats, in January Santorum told Democrats that if they wanted to vote for a Republican, they should switch their party affiliation.
"It's the Republican nomination, not the independent nomination or the Democratic nomination," he said on the call. "If you're a Democrat and you want to be a Democrat, then vote in the Democratic primary, not the Republican. If you want to vote in the Republican Party then become one."
At the time, Santorum's main criticism was of Romney's success in the New Hampshire primary, where 53% of Republican primary participants did not identify themselves as Republicans. In the weeks following Romney's win in the Granite State, Santorum repeatedly cited that statistic in arguing that his rival's supporters was out of step with the mainstream GOP electorate. Now Santorum is hoping non-Republicans will help give him the edge in Romney's home state.
The strategy of encouraging crossover voters appeared to have worked in the 2010 race for governor in Michigan, so this was not an idea out of nowhere. The problem is that it is an idea "out of left field," in the sense that typically this is considered a more effective strategy for centrist candidates rather than more right-wing Republicans. The conventional wisdom is that Romney is "less conservative" than Santorum; if anything, Romney should have appealed to Democrats. In any case, I suspect that eventually the Santorum campaign will view asking for Democratic support as a mistake. THey had little to gain; if they won with with the support of Democrats that support might have cheapened the victory. Asking for it undermines one of his better arguments against Romney: the "flip-flopper." Many news outlets carried the line that Santorum opposed Democrats voting in primaries before he supported it.
Santorum, for better or worse, was really the star in Michigan. He provoked the most controversy and dominated the headlines - some good, some bad. The LA Times noted some of the controversies: link here. Some other interesting pieces went around the internet ahead of the election. One of those was an old description about lobbying in Washington that featured Santorum.
Last year retribution was taken against the Motion Picture Association of America, which—after first approaching without success a Republican congressman about to retire—hired as its new head Dan Glickman, a former Democratic representative from Kansas and secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration. Republicans had warned the MPAA not to hire a Democrat for the job. After Glickman was hired, House Republicans removed from a pending bill some $1.5 billion in tax relief for the motion picture industry. Norquist told me, “No other industry is interested in taking a $1.5 billion hit to hire a Clinton friend.” After Glickman was selected, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported last year, “Santorum has begun discussing what the consequences are for the movie industry.” Norquist said publicly that the appointment of Glickman was “a studied insult” and the motion picture industry’s “ability to work with the House and the Senate is greatly reduced.” Glickman responded by hiring prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s former spokesman, for major MPAA jobs.
Mitt Romney, in contrast, had a fairly typical week on the Romney campaign trail. He made some mistakes. He reminded everyone that he isn't a regular guy by mentioning the "several" cars he owns. Nothing particularly new came to light; by now, he's probably faced all of the attacks his opponents can dig up with the skeletons in the closet. By now, everyone knows he is rich. This will not come as a surprise to anyone.
As a consequence, one point of view is expressed in this editorial: The Winner is - President Obama.
Romney ended the Michigan campaign as the patrician whose buddies are the owners of NASCAR teams. Santorum is the religious firebrand who picked a fight with John F. Kennedy over separation of church and state. The result? Neither of the two did themselves a favor in Michigan.
Nevertheless, Santorum is just continuing on ahead. Santorum's "Morning After" response (by email, though a Tea Party group):
(From "Liberty News Reports" - email@example.com)
We just gave Mitt Romney the fight of his life in his home state and now we are in for a long, important battle to the Convention. But before I get to that, I just have to pause and tell you a story about my grandfather...
Santorum isn't giving up yet. Some reports also show Gingrich reappearing on the voters' radar; he hasn't give up yet either. The "conventional wisdom" is that Gingrich has to win Georgia and do well elsewhere and that Santorum has to win in Ohio for the race to really continue beyond 'Super Tuesday.'
--- Stag Staff
PS. As a footnote, it is worth pointing out that the Michigan presidential primary has a particularly eventful history. See here.
PPS. Did anyone else notice that Romney's Arizona victory was a complete afterthought? More on it: here. On the day, Romney got 29 delegates from Arizona and 15 from Michigan. Santorum got 15 from Michigan as well (or, so it seems for now). That is, at the end of the day, the overall score was Romney 44, Santorum 15.
For previous coverage, see:
... it appears Romney won 16 delegates to Santorum's 14 in Michigan. Santorum is not pleased:
Santorum's campaign accused Romney of engineering the delegate reallocation.
"We've all heard rumors that Mitt Romney was furious that he spent a fortune in his home state, had all the political establishment connections and could only manage a tie," spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement. "But we never thought the Romney campaign would try to rig the outcome of an election by changing the rules after the vote. This kind of back-room dealing political thuggery just cannot and should not happen in America."
CNN estimates that so far in the campaign, Romney has 182 delegates, Santorum has 79, Gingrich has 39 and Paul has 38. It takes 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination.
In fact, Santorum's campaign complained to the RNC.
On Tuesday, Romney won Michigan with 41 percent of the vote to Santorum's 38 but the former Pennsylvania senator's campaign said it expected to win an equal amount of delegates because both Romney and Santorum won seven congressional districts in the state. The campaign also said it expected to win one at-large delegate to go to both Santorum and Romney, leaving both candidates with 15 delegates each.
But the state GOP announced on Thursday that Romney would be awarded 16 delegates and Santorum 14 and any expectation otherwise was do to a lack of clarity in how the delegate allocation process was explained.
In response, the Santorum campaign said that Romney supporters rigged the process so he wouldn't be embarrassed by not winning his home state in either delegate count or raw vote.
That is, the word is official: you can add Michigan to the lasting controversies from this race. That, to go along with the "whowonit" in Iowa, the failures of some candidates to get on the ballot in Virginia and Missouri, the dispute about whether or not Florida was "winner take all," the Paul allegations of a conspiracy in Maine (one county delayed the caucus because of a predicted snowstorm), and the ever-moving Texas primary election date. That leaves so far Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Arizona as relatively controversy free. By my count, that is 7 "with controversy" and 6 "without."
The Politico had some particularly harsh remarks about the Santorum Michigan campaign plans:
It’s enough to make fans of the former Pennsylvania senator want to throw up all over their sweater vests.
When Santorum should have been talking about his grandfather’s working class roots, he was talking instead about your wife’s birth control pills. When he should have been connecting with blue-collar Catholics, he was instead insulting their martyred president. And when Mr. Santorum should have been talking about how the grandson of a coal miner graduated college with two advanced degrees, he instead mocked the aspirational idea that we should send more of our kids to college.
The Santorum team’s failure to focus on a winning message was maddening to his biggest supporters—and to those who wanted Romney’s candidacy buried up to its neck in his home state.
To some extent, the Santorum campaign must have realized that they made some messaging errors. Take, for example, the claim that President Obama's desire that more people go to college made him "a snob." On February 26th, he headline still was that he "defended" his statement --- although, in truth, he actually "qualified" it. That is, backing away without backing away. See:
"What I've said is I want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college, or whatever other higher training skills," he said. "But it doesn't mean you have to go to a four-year college degree... I think everyone should have the opportunity. It's about what's best for you."
The message changed. Now:
"It was a strong term, probably not the smartest thing."
It is also noteworthy that he talked extensively about his mother and his wife (and their work experiences and education) in his concession/victory speech after the primary. That appeared also to be an effort to both repair his image with women voters as well as to back away a bit from his statement about education.
In all fairness to Mr. Santorum, his remarks on the subject are being a bit willfully misconstrued. He actually made what amounts to a fairly typical conservative argument: the Democrats are subsidizing with loans students to go to get a certain type of college education which "indoctrinates" them to be liberal. In the article on the 2th, he is quoted as saying:
"I understand why [Obama] wants you to go to college," Santorum continued. "He wants to remake you in his image."
And, in addition:
"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college," Santorum said during his AFP speech. "What a snob. There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test who aren't taught by some liberal college professor that tried to indoctrinate them."
Some of this may actually be grounded in a type of truth: many students graduating with four year degrees today cannot get a job while people who learned to be plumbers, etc. (Santorum: "But you know what…going to a trade school or learning to be a carpenter or a plumber…all of those are [noteworthy] professions that we shouldn't look down our nose [at].") are employed.
Nevertheless, the real problem for Santorum is that he is discovering the tough life of Mitt Romney. In the brighter glare of the presidential spotlight, it is very difficult to avoid periodically the charge of "flip-flopping." Calling for college attendence makes one a snob - before it doesn't. And so on. The Romney camp is hitting him with the same charge (flip-flop!) about his effort to get out Democratic voters.
Backers of Rick Santorum, on the other hand, are furious that Romney now complains that he recruited Democrats. They claim, instead, that it was Romney who pushed for the open primary in the first place:
Governor Snyder’s staff whipped Republican statewide legislators into line on the open primary option. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney’s current state chair, joined the governor in whipping Republican elected officials into line on this. Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, another prominent Romney supporter, joined in this concerted effort to achieve an open primary in 2012, communicating to every state committee member the governor’s position. Saul Anuzis, Republican national committee-man for Michigan and Romney supporter, also played a significant role in building support for the open primary.
It appears that, without filing suit (as the Idaho Republican Party did in 2011) to force the state to collect partisan registration, there is little the party could have done (aside from canceling the primary and going to a caucus format instead) to gain control over the process aside pass these "annoyance" rules to raise the cost of crossing over.