The mainstream media might have concluded that Mitt Romney’s nomination is a foregone conclusion, but a pair of experts on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign (the last time a primary battle went all the way to the convention) think that’s premature.
Gilbert Garcia, author of “Reagan’s Comeback: Four Weeks in Texas That Changed American Politics Forever,” believes that Santorum still has a strong reason for staying in — the Texas primary.
“Rick Santorum’s best hope is for a brokered convention,” says Garcia. “A big win in Texas could help him make the case that Mitt Romney can’t appeal to grassroots conservatives in traditional GOP strongholds.”
Craig Shirley, author of “Reagan’s Revolution” believes North Carolina was more important for Reagan than Texas, but generally agrees that with Garcia’s 2012 analysis.
A Texas win for Santorum, Shirley says, “reshuffles the whole deck.”
Of course, there was a time when Newt Gingrich was pinning his hopes on Texas. But as his campaign recedes, this creates a huge opportunity for Santorum to pick up a large number of delegates. The trouble for Santorum will be staying afloat during the month of April, where the primary calendar seems to favor Romney.
Nevertheless, Garcia and Shirley argue the Lone Star State could be vitally important this year. “The elite media was wrong in ’76. They were wrong in ’80. It’s their job to be wrong. And as far as we know, they’re going to be wrong again in 2012,” said Shirley.