Also published on HuffingtonPost
Even as talk of a brokered Republican convention refuses to fade even after Romney’s Arizona and Michigan victories, you can see evidence of the profound advantage the Republicans would give the Obama campaign if they put off choosing a nominee until the party meets in Tampa in August. One small example from a recent NPR story:
“The Obama campaign has about a dozen paid staff in Michigan already and, it says, thousands of volunteers running voter registration drives, organizing house parties and recruiting more volunteers.”
The current Republican candidates — Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul — are in theory at least leaving a trail of supporters behind them as they campaign. Staff will move on from primary to primary, but most volunteers will stay at home, ready to be activated as the eventual nominee prepares a national machine for the fall. By contrast, someone nominated out of the blue in Tampa would have to build that network from scratch. He (or she?) would have roughly ten weeks to organize a nation-wide turnout operation, an apparatus their Democratic opponent will have been building for over a year by the time election day comes around in November.