by Patrick Appel
The biggest story from the Nevada Caucus wasn't Romney's victory, it was Gingrich's delusional speech:
Conor Friedersdorf calls the speech "incredible":
Far from highlighting how different he is from Romney, the Gingrich speech and press conference showed that the former House Speaker is willing to say anything to improve his electoral chances. That doesn't make him any less principled than Romney. But neither does it give Republican voters any good reason to prefer him. Thus the genius of the Romney strategy. It was briefly the case that uninformed conservatives could feel good voting for Gingrich. After all the negative ads, they'll not feel good about casting their ballot for anyone. And if you're gonna vote for a pandering liar regardless, better a disciplined family man than a mercurial egomaniac.
Doug Mataconis thinks Gingrich is melting down:
Thanks to an aggressive campaign in Iowa, and again in Florida, and last night’s victory in Nevada, Mitt Romney is now living rent free inside Newt Gingrich’s head, and it’s causing him to self-destruct right before our eyes. We’re already seeing signs in Colorado and Minnesota that conservatives are getting turned off by Newt, especially when compared to Rick Santorum who, whatever you might say about him at least comes across as a likeable human being. If Gingrich continues with this meltdown, then there might not be much left of him by the time the campaign gets to Texas.
Pejman Yousefzadeh echos:
His bizarre press conference–which I caught a bit of–should inspire no confidence whatsoever that Gingrich has any kind of plan to turn things around for himself. His is a Dead Campaign Lurching, and the only question is why Gingrich refuses to put his effort out of its misery. I suspect that the answer has to do with Gingrich’s clear and massive dislike of Romney, a dislike he is allowing to undermine the Republican effort in the fall against President Obama.
Mother Jones has a useful state-by-state delegate calculator. Wikipedia lists whether states are winner-take-all or proportional. If you take five minutes to look at both websites, it becomes clear that Gingrich has no path to the nomination. Even if Gingrich sweeps the South, most of those states award delegates proportionally. More liberal states, like California and New Jersey, where a candidate like Romney should do well, are winner-take-all. Even if Gingrich's fantasy comes true, and he is near Romney in the delegate count after Texas, the post-Texas calendar is hugely favorable to Romney. Math is not Gingrich's friend.
Gingrich's Kamikaze-style campaign could damage Romney for the general election, and thus remains relevant. But, unless Romney suffers a major scandal, there is little reason to doubt he will be the nominee.