Newt Keeps His Expectations Low

If Rick Santorum had been able to find some change under his sofa cushions and stayed in the presidential race a bit longer, today was going to be a very big day, with primaries in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. A win in his home state, in turn, might have gotten him to the oasis of May, with its batch of Santo-friendly, evangelical-heavy southern and farm belt states.

But instead April 24 is basically an afterthought, providing Mitt Romney with about 200 more delegates.

For Newt Gingrich, though, it’s Armageddon, and the unlikely site for his make-or-break moment is Delaware.

Newt’s promised to fold his tent (if he hasn’t already hocked it) and go home if he doesn’t win in this very small state which will award 17 delegates on a winner-take-all basis. And he may actually win, since he’s the only candidate who’s bothered to campaign. It seems, from Ginger Gibson’s remarkably long piece on this tiny event in Politico, that endorsing Gingrich has become something of a survival strategy for moderate Republicans in Delaware who are still spooked by the conservative uprising that nominated Christine O’Donnell in 2010 and gave Democrats a Senate seat.

I’m sure Romney would just as soon get Newt out of the race tonight, but the wily old pol has finally set his expectations low enough that he might meet them.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.