Obama was able to wage a long campaign against Clinton in 2008 because he followed (and improved on) McGovern’s 1972 strategy of picking up cheap delegates in caucus states, particularly “red states,” which his rivals ignored. Santorum’s wins in bluish-purple caucuses — Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado — and his plans to target Washington state’s caucus in the upcoming rounds suggest a general awareness of Obama’s strategy. The RNC, having noticed that the Dems’ long 2008 campaign drove registration and organization in more states, helped open the door to an insurgent campaign by dictating proportional allocation of delegates for primaries and caucuses held before April, although some of these early non-binding contests awarding delegates later complicate these calculations. The RNC’s plan did not anticipate this cycle’s unexciting and inept field of candidates. In any event, it also ultimately works against a NotRomney like Santorum.
In March, with its treasure trove of delegates, there are plenty of places a NotRomney could do well, including caucuses. Many of these states lean conservative and evangelical. But proportional allocation of delegates insures Romney will get a share of delegates in most of these contests. Moreover, if Newt Gingrich remains in on Super Tuesday, he may do well in Georgia (one of the biggest delegate counts that day) and other southern states, splitting the NotRomney vote.