Posted Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008, at 1:32 PM
In a caucus that nobody cared about, Mitt Romney
is the predicted winner
of the Republican contest in Nevada today. Yay for Mitt.
Romney and Ron Paul were the only two candidates who paid any attention to Nevada, which lost its importance when South Carolina Republicans scheduled their own primary for today. Leading up to Romney's win, the GOP candidates were given a choice. They could either make a statement down South or out West. All of them chose South Carolina, including Romney.
But after a heavy ad presence and campaign schedule, Romney couldn't find traction in South Carolina, so he decided to pull out and switch focus to Nevada, where CNN reports 25 percent of cacus-goers were Mormons.
So, not to be rude, but Mitt's win means very little. But Romney's campaign won't paint it that way. Here's a guide to some possible narratives that Romney's camp will spin, and why they're all hogwash.
Expected spin: Nevada win bodes well for California!
: When Nevada originally entered the hallowed early primary-state club, the parties thought Nevada could be the bellwether for the rest of the region. That meant it was going to take California's delegate-rich temperature and give the Nevada winner a head start to win in Reagan-land. But because only Paul and Romney paid attention, Nevada's result won't carry much sway in California, where all the remaining Republicans will compete.
- Expected spin: We're the delegate leader! Spinback : Romney is now guaranteed to be the delegate leader, regardless of what happens in South Carolina. But only Romney's campaign will think that's important. Of Romney's three wins, only one has come in a contested state (Michigan), while the other two have been in states the rest of the field has left alone (Wyoming and Nevada). Romney has yet to prove he can win when it counts and ran away from South Carolina when the going gets tough. He has to earn his delegates to have a delegate lead carry any import. Plus, even though the campaign is becoming less and less about momentum as Super Tuesday approaches, South Carolina's winner is going to be the real newsmaker today.
- Expected spin: Even evangelicals likes us! Spinback : CNN is reporting that outside of Romney's near-unanimous Mormon support , he also beat Mike Huckabee among evangelicals. Perhaps, but Huckabee never went to Nevada nor did he have any ads running, so Romney was essentially competing against Huckabee's media persona.
Photograph of Mitt Romney on Slate 's home page by LM Otero/AP.