Clear Winner

GOP Nomination Contest Over With Romney Winning in New Hampshire

Mitt’s glide toward victory in New Hampshire effectively ends the competition for the Republican nomination, says Michelle Goldberg.

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

There is no more contest for the Republican nomination. The truth is, there hasn’t been for a while now, though pundits have been loath to admit it. Mitt Romney is gliding to victory despite the fact that he is widely disliked by the grassroots of the party that is about to nominate him, because conservatives have failed rather spectacularly to come up with a credible alternative.

It’s as if Democrats had been forced to nominate Joe Lieberman in 2004 because the only other candidates were Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader.

Going forward, the story is going to be how the right reacts to being shut out of a primary it expected to dominate. In 2010, after all, everyone thought the Tea Party was going to be a decisive force in the Republican presidential nomination. Now it’s too fragmented to mount a reasonable challenge to a frontrunner who epitomizes the Republican establishment.