Saturday, March 10, 2012

Live-blogging Super Saturday 2012: Kansas, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands


8:49 pm - Oh, what a Super Saturday indeed!

8:51 pm - Kidding.

8:52 pm - After Super Tuesday, the next big day of contests is next Tuesday, with Alabama, Mississippi, and Hawaii voting -- and American Samoa, too. Let's not forget that it's not just the 50 states that vote. But today saw some voting as well, with one somewhat significant (at least in terms of media attention) vote in Kansas, a binding caucus, and three others, non-binding caucuses, on the periphery of the American Empire. I'm kidding about actually live-blogging the results, but let's take a look at what happened...

8:55 pm - Romney cruised to a ridiculously easy win in the Marianas, 87 to 6 over Santorum, with Gingrich and Paul each at 3. Given that no in-person campaigning went on there, it was all about name recognition and establishment cred. Romney has both, of course.

9:01 pm - Romney won Guam as well. Unanimously: "All 251 delegates from the island's 19 villages backed Romney, who sent his son Matt to Guam and the nearby Northern Marianas to campaign on his behalf." Well, there. Looks like there was some in-person campaign, just by one of the sons instead of the father. No wonder Mitt won. At least he had a presence way out near the International Date Line.

9:05 pm - One wonders what Matt promised the islanders. A free Cadillac for every delegate? Or maybe the residents share the Romney penchant for plutocratic douchebaggery?

9:06 pm - No word yet on the Virgin Islands. One suspects another landslide Romney win.

9:07 pm - Okay, enough. There are all non-binding and it was pretty clear Romney was going to take them. The key Republican battle today was in Kansas, a prelude to more social conservative voting on Tuesday in the Deep South. And, no surprise, it's Santorum who has prevailed (results here). Maybe not unanimously -- but easily: 51 to 21 over Romney, with Gingrich at 14 and Paul at 13 (with 99% reporting). In delegate terms, it's 33 for Santorum and just 7 for Romney. Yes, Romney won more delegates this weekend, considering his wins way out in the Pacific, but Santorum's win in Kansas means he "won" the day, to the extent that a win in Kansas can give him a bit of momentum heading into next Tuesday and cement the narrative -- based in fact -- that Romney's appeal is seriously limited.

9:17 pm - Does momentum even matter? Maybe not. It's a heavily overused term. Whatever gain Santorum made today will be reversed if he struggles in Alabama and Mississippi, two right-wing states where, were it not for Newt (from nearby Georgia), he should do well. And, of course, it's not momentum that matters, nor moral victories, but actual delegates, and by that count Romney isn't just winning but is more or less assured of the nomination (barring some massive collapse).

9:20 pm - Indeed, what we learned today, if anything, is that Romney is still the establishment favorite, while Santorum can continue to do well in certain states with heavily right-wing electorates -- unless Newt is around to suck up some of that conservative support, as he will do on Tuesday, perhaps enough to hand some wins to Romney or at least to divide Republican support to the point where no clear victor can be declared, which would be fine for Romney but bad for Santorum, who needs to win wherever he can, particularly in the Deep South, to make the case that Romney is just too out of touch with the GOP to be its nominee.

9:25 pm - Anyway, that's pretty much it. Enjoy the rest of the evening.

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