Santorum 2016

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 7 2012 2:00 PM

Santorum 2016

A true-sounding aside from Alex Pareene: "Rick Santorum is the 2016 GOP nomination frontrunner." It's true because the runner-up of the last Republican primary always starts off with an advantage. McCain 2008. Dole 1996. Bush 1988. Reagan 1976. Romney looked like the candidate most likely to break the trend, but no longer.

It's also true because of what would happen if Romney won the nomination and lost. A Romney defeat would come after countless evangelical leaders endorsed a credible candidate and watched him lose to someone the "elites" called electable. Again. It would be the second time they'd been blown off by the party, nominated a moderate, and gone down to defeat. No matter how and why Romney actually lost, the storyline -- as it was in 2008 -- would be that the party lost its way, and needed to nominate a real conservative next time. In 2009 and 2010, the main proponent of the argument was the less-than-totally-focused Sarah Palin. In 2013, wouldn't it be Santorum?

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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