hat was behind "Mitt Romney's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad night on Tuesday"? asks Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo. That's simple: "A deep-seated dissatisfaction among conservative base voters." When Romney won Nevada and Florida last week, he was supported by a broad cross-section of the GOP electorate, including the conservative base. In Tuesday's contests in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota, conservatives — the same pool of GOP base voters who gave Romney huge 2008 wins in the latter two states — fled en masse. Is Romney really facing a revolt from his party's rank and file?
Mitt has a big base problem: Romney has troublingly "failed to close the deal with conservatives," says John Fund at National Review. Just this week, he "drew the ire of conservative icons Steve Forbes and Dick Armey" for endorsing "inflation-indexed minimum wage increases." Mitt doesn't seem to grasp that the GOP presidential nominee is also the "titular head of the conservative movement." For his sake, and that of his party, he needs to reach out to his base and fire it up, pronto.
"Mitt Romney has reason to be concerned"
His bigger issue is alienating the middle: It's true that Romney has a dangerously "uneasy relationship with the conservative base," says Scott Galupo at U.S. News. But Mitt's bigger problem is the "self-circling death trap" in which he's put himself: Romney's "relentlessly negative campaigning" has helped vanquish many of his GOP rivals, but it's also "killing his standing with independents." GOP base voters will back Mitt in the general election, but if Romney keeps slinging mud to get that far, he'll cede the moderates to Obama.
"What the Rick Santorum sweep means for Mitt Romney"
Everyone is misreading the results: On the surface, Tuesday's drubbing "made Romney look weak and unloved," says Michael Crowley at TIME. But don't be fooled. Between his money, "aura of inevitablity," and flawed rivals, Romney holds "a strategic position of overwhelming superiority," and voters know it. The many conservatives "willing to accept Romney as the nominee" simply "didn't have much incentive to turn out and vote on Tuesday." They know he's "basically a lock" for the nomination.
"Was Tuesday night really so terrible for Mitt Romney?"
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