Election 2012

Reason Writers at CNN.com: Matt Welch on What a Second-Place Rick Santorum Might Mean for the GOP

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Santo and his black cat, before the collapse.

Writing at CNN.com's Opinion section, Reason Editor in Chief warns "If Santorum finishes second, watch out." Excerpt:

Question: What do Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan (twice!) have in common? Answer: Before winning the Republican Party's nomination to run for president, each of these men first finished in second place during a GOP primary season.

Though it is by no means a lock that the Republican silver medalist will emerge as the party's front-runner in 2016 (just ask Pat Buchanan and Nelson Rockefeller), a significant second-place finish, the likes of which we will certainly see this year (unlike, say, John Buchanan's showing in 2004), carries the weight of a planted flag: Here, even in defeat, lies the embodiment of an important if temporarily unsuccessful political strain, one that is ready to break back out around that candidate at the next available opportunity.

Be very afraid, and read the whole thing here.