Yes, now is the time to put up or shut up for the republicans still left standing in this blood soaked primary season. It is the eve of the storm that might bring the race to an end, or muddle things so hopelessly that a brokered convention becomes a very real possibility.
Over the weekend Mitt Romney ran away with Washington with 38% of the vote. Romney pulled in 30 delegates to 5 for both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. That means going into tomorrow he has twice as many delegates as does Santorum. Paul and Gingrich are so far back it would take miracles of biblical proportions to get them back into this thing.
The poll numbers heading into the next twenty four hours look especially disastrous for Newton Leroy Gingrich. To survive, or at least remain marginally credible, he must have a huge day. Right now he leads in Georgia, but is running third in Tennessee and Oklahoma. He isn't even on the ballot in Virginia where Romney has a prohibitive lead over Ron Paul. If those numbers hold true the Adelson money could be a thing of the past. Sheldon maybe many things, but he isn't stupid. You don't buy oats for a dead horse.
Santorum, who also isn't on the Virginia ballot, leads a tight race in Tennessee and has a double digit advantage in Oklahoma. If he can convince Gingrich to get out after failing tomorrow with the promise of some sort of cabinet post, or ambassadorship he could well pick up Alabama and Mississippi next week and cut into the Romney lead.
Unsurprisingly Romney has a huge lead in Massachusetts, but his major problem remains painfully obvious. The ultra conservative wing will simply not vote for him in a primary. After months of constant campaigning and millions of dollars he has not sold them on either his policies, or his credentials. If he wins the nomination he will almost certainly have to pick some raving right wing loon as his vice presidential candidate.
That leads us to Ohio. The poll numbers there show what is essentially a dead heat between Romney and Santorum. The cold fact is whoever the republican nominee ends up being, he is going to win the south, or at least the vast majority of it. The election in November is going to be decided in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Indiana. The logic has been that Romney is the only republican who can win in those states against Obama. However, if he can't carry Ohio against Santorum, not only does he lose a chunk of delegates, but that argument begins to fray badly at the edges.
The truth is the republican core has drifted so far to the right if Mitt is the nominee he may well be the last "moderate" to ever represent the party of Lincoln. When you listen to republican town hall meetings where someone such as Sen. Tom Coburn is questioned sharply about why he is even being civil toward Barak Obama you get the idea of what kind of mob is in charge now. Not even Barry, by God, Goldwater would be able to stomach this horde of howling werewolves.
If the question isn't answered tomorrow, or at least in the next two weeks, there is no telling what will happen, or who will survive. Look for Valium sales to spike later this afternoon. Many are called, but only one is chosen. It is the nature of the beast.