The problem for the Republicans in this race is that none of them have received a majority of the vote. The winner gets about one-third of the vote, and is declared the big winner (usually said to have momentum, or what have you). Yes, he wins a plurality. But none of them have won the hearts and minds of the GOP. And in some cases, they are relying on Democrats and independents for their relatively meager vote tallies. McCain still is not winning conservatives. Huckabee is not as big an Evangelical vote-getter as thought.
It will come down to delegates, as it must. The problem for McCain is his record (which some of his supporters want us to downplay, or to limit to certain issues most important to them, or claim what matters is that he can beat the Democrat, or whatever). That’s not going to work right now. Even if this website were to close down tonight and never reappear, McCain’s positions on some major issues simply won’t go down with a lot of conservatives.
And this isn’t about wishing for the return of Ronald Reagan. This is about looking at the votes and opinion polls. I think most Republicans and conservatives can accept an imperfect candidate, as they always have. But, speaking for myself, I am as frustrated as I believe so many others are. It is hard to see how some of these candidates can draw the movement together, especially McCain, has spent a decade undermining major parts of it.
I am also convinced that Huckabee is now running for the second spot on the ticket. And he is likely to hold out to the bitter end, hoping his delegates will make him a player in the end. He has been extremely generous in his praise to McCain throughout the process. That’s where he’s putting his money. I was convinced a few weeks ago that McCain and Huckabee were teaming up against Romney. Time will tell.