Why don't pundits take Santorum seriously as a presidential contender?

Herein lies a counterfactual argument that I’ll go to my grave believing. Probably half or more of NRO’s readers might not just disagree but think the argument is utterly absurd, but one could certainly read the data to support it. To wit: While it would have been close, Santorum probably would have beaten Obama in November 2012…

The anti-Santorum argument is that his outspokenness on social issues would have scared off so many single women, socially liberal suburban moms, and young voters as to make victory impossible. This argument completely misses the reality that Romney, too, was utterly destroyed in these same demographics, as would have been just about any Republican nominee. It would have been difficult for any Republican to do much worse than Romney among those voters; hence, it stands to reason that Santorum could do only marginally, rather than substantially, worse.

But those losses arguably would have been more than countered by the Perot voters identified by Trende. Given a chance to replace Obama with a white-bread plutocrat who belittled the “47 percent” while complaining not a peep about Obamacare, they stayed home. But presented by an underdog of palpable sincerity who spoke with passion about blue-collar concerns, they probably would have detoured to the polls on their way home from the factories or fields.

In the cultural wars of “us against the man,” Santorum clearly is an “us.”