Mitt Romney may not have lost any delegates in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri yesterday, but the breadth of his defeats raises serious questions about his viability as a general election candidate.
Yes, Romney spent no money on television ads in any of the states. Yes, Romney ignored Minnesota and Missouri completely, campaigning only lightly in Colorado. And yes, the vaunted Romney organization did not try to get voters to the polls in these states the same way they did for state contests that actually matter. But the results speak for themselves: the hard core conservative voters that did turn out to the polls don’t like Romney.
In Missouri, Romney lost by 30 points and did not win a single county. In Minnesota, Romney finished third behind Ron Paul and did not win a single county. And inColorado Romney kept his loss within five points, but finished 35-points behind his 60 percent 2008 total.
When the Romney campaign does compete, when money is invested in television ads and a get-out-the-vote operation, Romney usually wins. But without these institutional advantages, Romney is just a much weaker candidate. And he will not have these advantageous in the general election. The desire for a new candidate from a brokered convention just went up.