Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum (AP Photos)
Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum (AP Photos)

BY KYLE SCHAFER, Staff Writer

Mitt Romney can’t win in the South, Rick Santorum can’t win in the Northeast, Newt Gingrich can’t win outside of his home state, and Ron Paul can’t win, period!

It has been a crazy last month in the Republican primary race. Romney was the frontrunner, then Santorum was, then Romney was, then Santorum again, then Romney was, but now he doesn’t have enough support to win the nomination outright, and this whole thing will never end! That’s not true. It will have to end sometime by the end of summer.

It looked for a while last Tuesday that Romney would win Alabama and perhaps Mississippi, and thus cement his electability in all regions of the United States, but Santorum was able to eke out wins in both southern states, and prolong the election process.

The only big winner out of the GOP primary race is Barack Obama, who doesn’t have to lift a finger on his presidential reelection campaign. Until the Republicans clearly nominate a candidate, the President can simply sit back, sip an ice-cold lemonade, and not worry about much of anything…except for the economy, and the war in Afghanistan, and Iran, and gas prices. Okay, so he doesn’t quite have it easy, but he doesn’t have to campaign.

The dynamic of the campaign has just gotten awful. Romney has the most delegates, but Santorum has the momentum as the clear “anti-Romney” candidate. Newt Gingrich is in third, and, if he were to bow out, conventional wisdom says that the lion’s share of his support would go to Santorum.

But, Gingrich would say the same of his own campaign if Santorum were to drop out. Why would Gingrich get out? He doesn’t have anything to do (he is not a congressman or governor), he still has money in his super PAC, and he can probably broker a deal with either of the other two candidates (likely Santorum).

That’s where things begin to get hairy. Mitt Romney may come close to the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, but odds are good that he may not reach it. If nothing has been resolved by the Republican National Convention in Tampa, in late August, it is likely to go to the “brokered convention.”

A brokered convention is one that could open the field to any number of candidates, including those not even in the race right now, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or former Vice Presidential candidate and reality TV show host Sarah Palin.

Just as an aside, I am going to get this down in print: My bold prediction is that not only will Sarah Palin not run for president this year, but she will never run a serious campaign for the presidency. She is motivated by publicity and the potential to make money.

Getting back to the brokered convention, it is likely that in this type of situation, a sweetheart deal would be struck between Santorum and Gingrich to make one the other’s vice presidential running mate.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are still three months and 24 primaries before the dust settles in the final contest of the season, in Utah, at the end of June. Anything can happen between now and then to swing the race toward one candidate or the other.

The next primary is Tuesday in Illinois, where Romney is leading in the polls by a healthy margin, followed by Saturday in Louisiana, where Santorum leads a tight three-way race over Romney, followed by Gingrich.

Pay attention to April 3, April 24, May 8, and June 5. Those dates carry multiple primaries (16 in all). The race is roughly halfway through. Grab a glass of lemonade and kick back with the President. Don’t worry! He won’t put you to work on economic policy.