What Florida Means
Our experts weigh in on the result, and the road ahead.

Newt Gingrich addresses his supporters in Orlando following his Florida defeat, January 31, 2012.


My assumption is that the creation of majorities in our republic is — has always been — a messy business, and that we shouldn’t be surprised that this GOP primary is messy and blurry, and made all the more so by an unimpressive media that focuses only on the fleeting. Yet, the fog is lifting now and it is becoming clear that the only candidate who is both a conservative and is able to practice the politics of inclusion — of pulling folks toward his views on how to revivify limited constitutional self-government — is Mitt Romney.

Romney’s impressive victory in Florida reveals this. He will cobble together a majority within the GOP because he is a smart man, a conservative, and, let us admit, a well-balanced individual. It is now also clear that his campaign is well run. Gingrich, this so-called man of ideas, is ungraciously appealing to — as he calls it — people power instead of financial power. This is not impressive and it is not conservative. Gingrich is tired, languid, and seems a bit desperate. Romney should take the high ground — as he did in tonight’s speech. If he does, he will walk into the convention with a majority of the delegates and everyone will know that he deserved his victory.

— Peter W. Schramm is the executive director of the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs and a professor of political science at Ashland University.