Fifteen days ago, as dawn broke on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney led the Republican primary race only tenuously. He had won 55 percent of the delegates awarded at that point, but there were more delegates on the line that day than in the first two months of voting combined. Many of them were in precisely the kind of Southern, conservative, evangelical-heavy states that could give a jolt of momentum to Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich.
Romney at that point needed to win 50 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination but, mathematically speaking, the other candidates didn’t face much more daunting odds: Santorum needed 56 percent of the remaining delegates, while Gingrich and Ron Paul each needed 58 percent of them. If either Santorum or Gingrich could perform well enough (or poorly enough) on Super Tuesday for one of them to drop out of the race immediately, winning between 55 percent and 60 percent of the remaining delegates was a feasible task. The states and