The Establishment Strikes Back

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 5 2012 @ 12:44pm

On the heels of Romney's endorsements from Tom Coburn and Eric Cantor this weekend, Bernstein argues that reports of the GOP establishment's demise have been greatly exaggerated:

Romney's nomination is quite comparable to the nominations of Kerry in 2004, Dole in 1996, and Dukakis in 1988, and a lot more certain a lot earlier than that of McCain last time around. That seems to very much fit a model in which party actors compete and coordinate on nominations and voters in primaries and caucuses ratify it, rather than a model in which candidates compete in a weak party environment and voters in primaries and caucuses determine the nomination. Yes, there's been momentum and press effects and other stuff that has produced a few oddball primary and caucus results, but none of that has really, as far as I can see, done as much to shape the contest as has decisions by party actors. In particular, the party's apparent lack of interest in Rick Santorum, seen through a lack of high-profile endorsements after Iowa and again after Colorado and Minnesota, appear to have been far more predictive than Santorum's strong showing in those states.