Why the GOP Primary Won't Be Like Clinton vs. Obama

The 2012 Republican primary probably won't be much like the 2008 Democratic primary, but Mitt Romney's campaign is organizing just in case the nomination fight against Newt Gingrich lasts all the way into the spring. The New York Times' Trip Gabriel and Jeff Zeleny report that if neither Romney or Gingrich have decisive victories in the early voting states, "Gingrich could be faced with the ultimate challenge to his campaign: the need to survive a war of attrition of the sort for which he is unprepared at the moment." Romney's organized in Alabama, Indiana, Delaware, and lots of other later-voting states, while Gingrich's campaign didn't file the paperwork in time to get on the Missouri caucus ballot. The Washington Post's Philip Rucker, too, reports that Gingrich's campaign is trying to create a huge organization in just a couple weeks, with staffers sending all-caps emergency emails to Republicans in Ohio to get enough signatures to get on that state's ballot. Ohio votes in March, though, and it doesn't seem likely that both guys will be around by then. Not only does Gingrich not have the organization of Obama, he doesn't have the message Republicans want to hear or an army of new voters to help him win in late-voting states.

The establishment candidate is also the organized candidate

Outsider Obama outmaneuvered frontrunner Clinton by organizing in late-voting states, and by having a strong organization in the Iowa caucuses. But this year, the well-organized candidate is also the establishment choice: Romney. Obama's surprise victory in Iowa was thanks to his organization -- really important for Democrats, as Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for George W. Bush in 2004, explains at ABC News. But that organization isn't important for Republicans in the state, he says. The Democratic caucus "involves meeting certain mandated thresholds, convening in groups at each caucus, reconvening, and using various mathematical equations that are instrumental to choosing a winner," Dowd writes, but Republicans just show up and vote, and then those votes are counted. That means enthusiasm matters as much as organization.

Read the full post at The Atlantic Wire.

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