If you've been paying any attention to the GOP primary race and now President Obama's ever-improving poll numbers against the weak Republican field, you've probably asked yourself, is it too late for somebody to jump in the race (picture a Chris Christie cannonball into the pool of candidates, if you must)?
The short answer is...yes, it probably is too late.
Do the math.
OK, I'm too lazy to do the math, but this guy did and the story is that the filing deadlines for so many states have passed that a candidate who entered now could win every delegate in every primary for which filing is still open, and still not garner enough delegates to take the nomination in Tampa. You can check out his graphic and here's some background:
No matter how you look at it, then, there are or would be enough delegates for a late entrant to possibly get to 1144, or in the more chaotic, yet more likely late entry (if it were to happen), scenario after Tuesday, earn enough support to keep another candidate from getting there, sending the decision to the convention; a brokered, uh, deadlocked convention.
But here's the thing: Who is that candidate? Let me rephrase that. Who is the candidate who can not only successfully enter the race late, but who can also marshal the organization necessary to cobble together enough delegates to take the nomination or throw enough of a monkeywrench into the process and still maintain support in the party to win the nomination at the convention? Let's think about this for a moment. There are people in this race now actively seeking the nomination (and who have been running for president for quite some time) who cannot get on the ballots in some states. And we are expecting someone to come in and immediately be able to beat these deadlines, organize write-in efforts and uncommitted slates of delegates to get within shouting distance of 1144 or a lower total held by the frontrunner.
I apologize, folks. But I just don't see it. There is no silver bullet. There is no white knight.
Notice, I qualified the lead-in to this with a "probably" and here's why. Let's say a strong candidate (probably not Christie, who is so tied to Romney that he wouldn't get in unless the ex-Massachusetts governor gets out) jumped in right now and the others -- Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Paul -- all stayed in for their various reasons. You could see a scenario in which Gingrich and Romney, on the early primaries, get, say, 600 delegates each and the new guy wins enough late primaries to get 400, and thus forces an open convention. The new guy could point to his late momentum and try to pry delegates from the other four in the later ballots. That would be fun.
Or, about as likely, the Washington Wizards could win the NBA championship.