The Republicans held their caucus meetings in Louisiana 2 days ago. Why am I so late even speaking about it? Because the results are a mess. A real mess. Apparently John McCain won, but actually finished 2nd behind “Uncommitted Pro-Life”. In 2nd/3rd place was, surprisingly, Ron Paul. 3rd/4th place was Mitt Romney. I’m finding it hard to get any statistics to give, but those seem to be the actual placings.
How can ‘uncommitted’ win, but John McCain win too? Well, Louisiana has an interesting voting system. The candidates for delegate, in Louisiana, have run on one ‘slate’ (platform) or another, but not on multiple slates. This year, some of the candidates have run on more than one slate. There was a significant overlap between the McCain and Pro-Life slates. Therefore, determination of which slate has won, and who the delegates will endorse, is not as clear. But it really does look like the order is “Uncommitted Pro-Life”, McCain, Paul, Romney, and the the rest.
This all says a few things. First, that John McCain seems to be seen as the conservatives man for the job. If the Pro-Life slates are aligned with McCain, then it’s safe to assume that the he will pander to the rest of their votes. Quickly he will become the opposite Rudy Giuliani and then power ahead of his opponents, unless, with all the economic instability that is plaguing the U.S. at the moment, Mitt Romney can capitalise. It’s really looking like a two-man race now: McCain versus Romney. If McCain can win the south, and Ron Paul coming in 2nd, Mike Huckabee’s campaign might have just died. I suspect he was hoping for a good finish in the south, but not a 4th place finish with Ron Paul in 2nd.
Second, the results must be encouraging for Ron Paul and his legions of e-supporters. I say e-supporters, because prior to the campaign, all the Internet was ablaze with how great Paul was than everyone else. Then, when the voting started, it turned out that hi ssupport was just on the Internet, and he wasn’t polling past 4% in states. Now he gets a 2nd. It’s unfortunate that the Republicans run on a winner-takes-all method. Otherwise, Paul would have had a few delegates. He wouldn’t be in a position to win the nomination. In fact, he was never in that position. But it would have put him in place to be listened to, and shake things up. But the Republicans aren’t the smartest group, and in the end, Paul is going to lose and be ignored.
Finally, the results show something that I said was indicated earlier. The McCain has the south, Romney the west and mid-West. If the early states are anything to go by, McCain has the ‘horn’ (the North-East group of states) because of New Hampshire, or Romney has it because of Michigan. New Hampshire is different to some of the big states in the North-East, so I’m hesitant to say McCain has it. I’d be surprised if Romney didn’t win up there – it’s economic driven.
Louisiana’s results will end up being interesting, but ultimately overshadowed by the impending Florida primary. That is probably the make-or-break state for every candidate other than Romney and McCain. If Giuliani fails to win, then his ‘big state’ plan is shot, and he might as well drop out (especially is he is polling second to McCain in New York polls). Huckabee can’t seen to get back that momentum he had from Iowa, and he should probably drop out too (especially is conservatives are backing McCain). That would clean the field up, and would create a similar race to the Democrats. Ron Paul shouldn’t drop out purely to keep things interesting and mixed up. On a side note, I certainly wouldn’t be drawing any parallels between John Edwards and Paul …