Harsh Math (…Harsh for Romney, That Is)

March 7th, 2012

Inspired by the Romney campaign’s appeal to math and my refutation thereof (see it below after the video).

 

“A winning conservative message, hard work and old fashioned delegate math will win this race for Governor Romney.” — Romney campaign announcement 2/07/12

 

“Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Governor Romney’s opponents can obtain the Republican nomination. As Governor Romney’s opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person’s odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama’s.” – Romney campaign announcement today

 

“Mitt Romney last night won 6 out of 10 contests. He has now amassed 40% of the delegates he needs to win the nomination. He won from Vermontout to Alaskaspanning the entire breadth of country. And if you look at the math, and the harsh logic of the math is what people should be focused on now, there is virtually no opportunity for either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich to overtake Mitt Romney in the delegate lead.” — Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom today on Andrea Mitchell

 

Since Romney’s campaign is proclaiming the unconquerable power of math,

Here’s my mathematical proof of his opponents’ possible nomination path.

 

Be warned, Mitt-ites: you might night like this analysis,

But we Dems would sure like the resulting Republcan paralysis.

***

Here’s Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom 3/07/12 on Andrea Mitchell (the quote is at the 2”11 mark). Sorry, Mr. Fehrnstrom, but while you’re technically and mathematically correct about the delegate count, that’s not the same as winning the nomination (see my analysis below for that).

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Here’s the mathematical analysis that shows Romney’s opponents do indeed have a path to nomination.

Where R = Romney, S = Santorum, G = Gingrich, P = Paul, and O = Other delegate counts and “!” = likely share of remaining delegates, Mr. Fehrnstrom’s argument is expressed as follows:

 

R + R! > S + S! and
R + R! > G + G! and
R + R! > P + P!

 

That may be true, but Mr. Fehrnstrom ignores the “harsh math” (harsh for Romney, that is) of a brokered convention:

 

If R + R! < 1144, then R! exists such that
(R + R!)  < (S + S!) + (G + G!) + (P + P!) + (O + O!),
(R + R!)  + (P + P!) < (S + S!) + (G + G!), or possibly even
(R + R!)  + (P + P!) < (S + S!) + (O + O!)

 

In other words, if Romney fails to meet the 1144 delegate threshhold, then his opponents can combine their votes at the convention to defeat him. If I were Santorum or Gingrich, that’s exactly the deal (it could be called the Anyone-But-Mitt, or ABM Treaty) I would work out right now (particularly in the face of a possible Romney-Paul deal): each will agree to instruct his delegates to support the other against Romney at the convention if he drops out, or if the other has more delegates. E.g., Gingrich would agree to give Santorum his delegates if Gingrich drops out, or if Santorum ends up with more delegates than Gingrich (and vice versa). 

(NB: The main obstacle to such a deal is probably (1) Sheldon Adelson, since he reportedly dislikes Santorum and has stated his intention to support Mitt Romney if and when his guy drops out or loses, (2) Gingrich’s belief that he will in fact lose to Santorum in the delegate count, but can cut a better deal at the convention, or possibly (3) the GOP Establishment’s secret plan to bring in a surprise White Knight at the convention. If I were Santorum, I would propose this deal to Gingrich, and maybe Santorum already has. Gingrich’s conundrum then becomes how to refuse that offer, which would clearly also be to Newt’s advantage if Newt truly believes that he can emerge from the primary with more delegates than Santorum. Newt probably doesn’t really believe that and knows that he’ll probably be able to get a better “price” for his delegates at the convention, so if the deal has been offered, the odds are he didn’t take it… yet.)

Update: Here’s Rev. Al’s 3/07/12 panel discusison on the subject (Tad Devine makes my same point, though not in mathematical terms).

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