"It ain't over till it's over" proves correct again. Yesterday the process, ugly though it may be, continued with two caucuses and a beauty contest, non-binding primary. What did we learn?
Colorado was my home for twenty years with many of them very active in the political process. The state was very Republican with firm control over the congressional delegation, both senate seats and the state legislature. Of the entire state, the Colorado Springs core was the heart of the religious right in America with candidates making the pilgrimage to kneel and kiss the ring of Dr. James Dobson at Focus on the Family.
That has changed considerably, but there is still a western US conservative core in my old home state.
Colorado Goes For Santorum
Look at that map. It isn't speckled. It is solid for Santorum with the exception of the Romney concentration in the northwest corner of the state. That is hard-core conservative country, but lacking the evangelical influence. The Ron Paul influence is negligible and Gingrich doesn't appear in the noise level apparently.
Minnesota Solid and Less Liberal
Once again the map tells a story about a solid organization across the state. Minnesota had once been viewed as an aberration in the heartland, a working, Scandinavian, struggling state that chose liberalism over core free market principles. They may not be as liberal as we've come to believe. Santorum consistently covers the state and only Ron Paul makes a couple of block appearances. Romney doesn't grab the ring anywhere and Gingrich...who?
Missouri Painted Solidly
That is what would be called a beat-down in any game you played.
What does this mean now? It means that there is a backlash to Romney. Mitt held consistently at 25% for the media race of last year, but never grew his base. The seeds sprouted but didn't mature. The meme was that it was a wrap because of his organization and funds raised. Apparently that isn't a done deal.
Romney went over to the dark side. He started to play coy and dirty. When someone appeared to challenge, his minions went to work slinging mud. Thankfully, that doesn't always work even in today's politics.
Gingrich looked like a new and mature version 3.0 of the Reagan Revolution. But then the mask cracked several times and voters who are tired of same old/same old rebelled.
Ron Paul holds his youth vote and his simplistic libertarian views. He doesn't appear to be gaining voters or swaying very much. His threat of a third-party candidacy remains, but it might have less fund-raising capability than another Nader effort. His persistence with the goal of gaining platform plank influence doesn't really play well if the objective of replacing the current administration is kept in mind.
Santorum has largely kept to the high road. He focuses on the issues and the enemy. That seems to be catching on. Will it translate into fund-raising prowess and the enlistment of an army of volunteers as the pace grows more hectic? We've got about a month until Super Tuesday and that should be the make or break point.