Beware the Myth of Inevitability


In politics, as with many competitive enterprises, frontrunners love to promote the myth of inevitability.  Having squeaked out the narrowest of wins in Iowa and now polling favorably in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is attempting to capitalize on the notion that his nomination is inevitable.  If Republicans want to defeat President Obama come November, primary voters are told, they’d better put their support behind the right man, and that man is clearly Mitt Romney.  
Basically Romney’s argument goes like this:  I am ahead, I have the money, and I have the support of the establishment so let’s not kid ourselves.  Uniting behind me now will save time and money by allowing the GOP to devote its resources towards making Barack Obama a one-term president.
The trouble is, the myth of inevitability is just that – a myth!  If the Iowa caucuses demonstrated anything, it is just how tenuous that myth is.  In the months leading up to January 3rd – depending on the week of course – victory appeared secure for Michelle Bachmann, then Herman Cain, then Newt Gingrich, then Ron Paul.  Victory finally did go to Romney, but only by a whisker.  In a nail biter that doubtless put some gray in Romney’s impeccably dyed coif, 11th-hour surprise Rick Santorum (an ex-Senator with little organization and less money) almost pulled out the upset of the decade.  What Santorum lacked in resources, however, he more than made up for with his message, sweat, and shoe leather.  

Given another month and a bit of funding and it’s likely that the outcome in Iowa would have looked very different.  Goodness only knows what Santorum could have accomplished with just a little bit of money and recognition.  Comfortably flush with both, the Romney machine is going to do whatever it takes to overcome the lukewarm enthusiasm that has plagued his candidacy since day one.  This is why the inevitability narrative is critical.  
But surely Republican primary voters are smarter than that.  Surely they realize that the outcome of the nomination lies in their hands, not the candidates’ or the pundits’ or the media’s.  Can Santorum be the nominee?  Of course.  So can Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich or any other candidate that the voters decide best represent them.  In short, voters should vote their consciences.  They should work for and give to the candidate who best represents their values and ideas instead of letting the talking heads and the money dictate who their standard bearer should be.  They should not fall for the myth of inevitability, but instead create their own reality. 
As for the candidates, they should take heed of the lessons of Iowa and take heart.  This competition is far from over.  May the best man win.


About Author

Kenneth L. Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society, 1220 L St. NW, Suite 100-371, Washington, DC 20005. Email: and website:

  • goral

    Romney is like his religion – clean, conservative and calculating but its soul is not Christian.
    The bigger myth is that it’ll take a lot to beat Obama.
    Obummer is already a “corpse”, only the media is propping him up and waving his hand.

  • Tarheel

    I fear a bigger question is “Will the media treat candidates as equals or equally this election?” They definitely were not guilty of that during the last Presidential election. Mainstream media always seems to “cotton up to” the candidate that reflects their liberal views. And so far the media really hasn’t treated the Republican candidates very fairly. I hear more about how “bad” the candidates are, rather than what the candidates are campaigning on.

    Time will tell just how the media treats the candidates and just how “fair” they are this election.

    I do feel that the Republican party needs to work together to provide a viable candidate to defeat President Obama, or else they will basically defeat themselves and with that action Obama will be reelected for another term.

  • john2000young

    NO NO NO No he is not clean. Contraception is OK to him. I want to tell him this:

    Who need contracetion?
    1. Prostitutes and their customers.
    2. Ones who engage Extramarital affairs.
    3. Some one who exploit the other’s body for sexual pleasure alone.

    Actually, item 1 = item 2 and = items = NOT OK.

    It usher all human dysfunctions. You are terribly ignorant.

    So, say no to secularism, yes to Catholicism.

    You can never be our president.