With over half of all state caucuses and primaries finished, Mitt Romney has proven to Republican voters he has the stamina and support to represent the party and wage a full-scale general campaign. Up until this point, no other candidate has proven they can deliver a knock-out punch to the prevailing Romney candidacy.
This has proven to be a very unique primary season; the lengthy and arduous election schedule this year (contests spreading from January to June) has made it nearly impossible for any candidate to swiftly capture the coveted 1144 delegates needed for the ultimate prize: the party’s nomination.
While some political commentators suggest Romney has yet to garner the total support of the party, they ignore the fact that the 2012 Republican Primary contest has been, in large part, a four-way race. All things considered, Romney has performed exceptionally well - winning over half of all contests with extraordinary margins of victory and earning nearly double the amount of popular votes as his closest competitor, Senator Rick Santorum.
Even still, some conservatives continue to flirt with the idea of a Santorum nomination. While his ideas echo much of the party’s core-conservative base, the fact is that most Republicans find themselves somewhere in the middle between center and far-right. Nominating a Santorum-type candidate in this election cycle would alienate many much-needed independents and would leave the Republicans with a weaker candidate when it comes to the economy. While Santorum’s fiscal record is very conservative, it is unmatched by that of Romney’s. There is simply no comparison between the economic and private-sector experience of Mitt Romney and any other candidate.
Comparisons have been made to the grueling Democratic primary season of 2008 with, then-candidates, Obama and Clinton. However, as much as some think Romney has faced a tough battle within his own party, it’s safe to say that either candidate, Obama or Clinton, would’ve loved to have been in Romney’s position now at this stage in their primary process.
The time has come for Santorum, Gingrich (yes, he’s still in it) and Paul (him too) to rally around the inevitable and deserved Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. It is inconceivable that any other candidate will surge at this point and win a majority of the delegates; in some cases, it’s nearly impossible. Just as Mitt Romney promptly conceded to John McCain in early 2008, the remaining Republican candidates should follow proper discourse, step down and put the party first. If there is any desire to combat the looming $1 billon candidacy of President Obama, Republicans must unite behind Romney now and begin the general election process.