Yep, that’s what 34-year old Josh Putnam told The Charlotte Observer today:
Q. What if Mitt Romney wins in Iowa? Is the race over?
A. “It would be over. That would be the death knell for quite a number of campaigns. It would be a real signal (for the other candidates) that (continuing would be), if not futile, then pretty close to it. It gets down to voters making a pragmatic choice. ‘We may not like Romney, but he gives us the best chance to win in November.’ “
Really? Let’s examine this in the context of past Iowa caucus votes:
1980 winners: George H.W. Bush (R), Jimmy Carter (D)
1984 winners: Reagan (R), Walter Mondale (D)
1988 winners: Bob Dole (R), Dick Gephardt (D)
1992 winners: George H.W. Bush (R), Tom Harkin (D)
1996 winners: Bob Dole (R), Bill Clinton (D)
2000 winners: George Bush (R), Al Gore (D)
2004 winners: Bush (R), John Kerry (D)
2008 winners: Huckabee (R), Obama (D)
OK. On the GOP side, Iowans have picked the eventual nominee only TWICE since 1980 (when there were multiple GOP candidates to pick from). On the Democratic side, Iowans have picked the eventual nominee FIVE times since 1980 (when there were multiple candidates to pick from).
In contrast, the GOP candidate who wins South Carolina’s primary has gone on to be the party’s nominee EVERY TIME since 1980.
Let’s hold off on anointing anyone as the nominee — at least until Palmetto State voters have their say.