The Republican electorate has spoken, repeatedly,
and Newt Gingrich finally began listening, albeit a few months and $4m
According to reports on Wednesday,
Gingrich is set to suspend his floundering campaign on Tuesday next
week, and will probably endorse the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt
Gingrich staked the continuation of his primary
campaign in winning the state of Delaware on Tuesday. Although Delaware
is worth only 19 delegates in the race to the required 1 144 for the
party nomination, Delaware Republicans did pick Christine O’Donnell as a
Senator candidate in 2010 – if you remember, O'Donnell was the far
right candidate who became famous because she advocated against
masturbation in her youth.
This is seemingly the sole criterion
under which Gingrich decided to play in Delaware: Its recent history of
picking an "alternative" candidate.
Gingrich has won two states
in the Republican presidential race thus far, the third contest in
South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. Since the Georgia win,
however, he has struggled to even finish second. In the five states that
voted on Tuesday he failed to finish second in any except Delaware, and
even that "triumph" saw him lose by nearly 30 percentage points.
So what was the problem?
was an early benefiter of the anti-Romney sentiment that did the rounds
through the blood vessels of conservatives. To be fair, this sentiment
also temporarily boosted Michele Bachmann and the entertaining candidacy
of Herman Cain, but Rick Santorum was the only person who managed to
capitalise on this. Gingrich enjoyed a bubble in South Carolina but was
then beaten by the Romney millions in Florida.
won Georgia, on the same day he lost key southern states to Santorum, he
continued to lose in states where he should have been – in fact he
wasn't even on the ballot in Virginia due to the disorganised campaign
Gingrich may have sustained some fits and starts of
momentum, largely thanks to many big cheques written by one donor,
casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. While it's nice to have one constant
stream of money, it doesn't indicate any kind of support. And one donor
does not a dwindling campaign fund: Adelson didn't make his money by
being a fool, and continually pouring millions into a campaign that is
going nowhere is not the mark of a good businessman.
Gingrich's campaign, as I alluded to earlier, is deep in debt - $4m
deep. Continuing the campaign was simply financially unsustainable.
also framed his campaign within the mantle of "big ideas" – admirable,
yet he allowed himself to look silly at times. As candidates pander to
each state they visit, Gingrich decided to suck up to Floridians by
mentioning how he would expand the US space programme, most of which is
based in the state: "By the end of my second term, we will have the
first permanent base on the moon."
When you're already
struggling to be taken seriously, a moon colonisation project is hardly
the way to motivate the electorate (49 states of which are not in
Florida) to point your way. In comparison, Mitt Romney, leading this
race by quite some distance, has maintained a focus on the economy.
Last to know
also suffered due to the end of the televised Republican debates, (the
last one which featured all remaining candidates on 22 February). He is
an experienced politician with a good eye for policy and a thorough, if
somewhat skewed, version of American political history. He is a superb
debater, very comfortable in front of a camera and lets no one get on
top of him, including debate moderators.
During the debates he
tapped into conservative anger at liberal media bias, was able to end
every statement he made with an enthusiastic cheers from the crowd, and
could explain what he meant. The debates were also free media coverage –
remember, the finances of his campaign are in the dwang, which means
purchasing advertising is impossible.
Without money, positive
media coverage or any kind of sustained support, Gingrich was doomed.
It’s just slightly sad that he was one of the last people to work it