Election Notes: Doubting Romney

Mitt Romney is looking more and more like the inevitable Republican nominee. Romney won 6 of the 10 Super Tuesday states, including the crucial state of Ohio. He won the majority of the delegates at stake. He now has more delegates than the rest of the field combined, and more than twice as many of his closest opponent, Rick Santorum. Kris Broughton points out that it’s a larger lead than Obama had at this point in the nominating process four years ago. As Jonathan Bernstein says, the bottom line is that Romney won “the most states, the most votes and the most delegates; and he has a solid lead in the national polls, money and endorsements.”


But Romney’s victory nevertheless wasn’t compelling enough to convince his rivals to drop out of the race. As Larry Sabato says, “If anything, Tuesday’s results confirm that Romney still has some big problems with the base of his party.” Romney still hasn’t won a Southern state besides Florida—which is very different from the states in the so-called “traditional South”—and will probably lose the upcoming primaries in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

In addition, Romney’s victory didn’t do much to dispel doubts about his ability to beat Obama in the fall. He won in Ohio by just a single point, and exit polls show that once again he lost both among voters without a college degree and among voters who make less than $100,000 a year. It may be, as Ezra Klein suggests, that Romney will be a better candidate in the general election when he can tack back to the center. But Romney’s larger problem is that the very idea that someone could be excited about his candidacy seems to be a joke.

Intrade now gives Romney an 84% chance of winning the nomination. That’s up a slightly from last week, but it’s actually less chance than traders gave Romney in the middle of February. The reason that figure is not higher is that traders have begun to speculate that someone else—Jeb Bush is their leading candidate—will be recruited in Romney’s place. That seems unlikely at this point. But Republican party leaders still aren’t ready as a group to end the race by steppping in and endorsing Romney.

Romney is winning the nominating race because he is a consistent, capable campaigner, and has a much better national organization than any of his rivals. Romney probably does represent the Republicans’ best chance of retaking the White House. But winning the Republican nomination against this particular field of candidates is like hitting a lot of home runs in the minor leagues. It’s impressive, but it doesn’t mean you’re ready for big league pitching. Consider that Romney’s chief opponents weren't even able to get their names on the ballot in every state, or—in Santorum's case—able to field a full slate of delegates in Ohio. But in Obama, Romney will be facing someone who has an organization and resources that more than a match of his own.

Political Futures Markets

Chance President Obama will win reelection: 60.7% (Intrade)

Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 84.1% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 60.0% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 65.0% (Intrade)

Polls

President Obama’s approval rating: 47.7% (Pollster)

Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 31.7% (Pollster)

Republican advantage on a generic congressional ballot: 0.0% (Real Clear Politics)

Comment

“Rarely has a candidate seemed so inevitable and so weak at the same time.”—Rich Lowry (h/t The Daily Dish)

UP NEXT: caucuses in Kansas, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday, March 10, followed by the Alabama and Mississippi primaries and the Hawaii caucus on Tuesday, March 13

Mitt Romney image from Gage Skidmore

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Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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