Newt Gingrich will drop out by April 15. Ron Paul will drop out by May
1. Both will strongly support Mitt Romney. Gingrich has no choice. His
campaign is dying. He is dependent on one man, Sheldon Adelson, who will
soon drop his support. Ron Paul has a choice, but the choice he will
make is to drop out and support Mitt, after squeezing everything he can
from Romney in the deal. Truth is, Ron is a beautiful old-style
politician, but he is losing primary support so fast he is losing
leverage fast, which means the price Romney will pay Paul is going down.
So Paul must cut the deal before the price reaches zero.
Newt is just bye-bye ASAP, not worth the time. Paul has the option of running as a third party, and with his delegates so low this is his only leverage to pressure Mitt to pay a higher price. So Newt will drop out because he has to, Ron will sell out because the price is right, but this must happen sooner rather than later because (in the tradition of Ron's Austrian economists) Ron Paul's value to Mitt Romney is declining fast.
Rick Santorum will either return to being a millionaire special-interest lobbyist or seek a government job. In both cases he needs Mitt. Newt Gingrich will return to being a pay-for-play millionaire special-interest hustler. He, too, will need Mitt. Ron Paul already acts like he is partially owned by Mitt. Mitt will promise things for Rand Paul if Ron does his partisan duty, and against Rand Paul if Ron does salute, obey and endorse the boss (Mitt). Goodbye, Austrian economists, hello, vulture capitalists.
Once Gingrich and Paul are out, the next question will be who makes more gigantic gaffes, the man who does not care about unemployment or the man who likes firing people.
The real problem for Republicans is that some honorable conservatives believe that Romney would be a disaster for conservatives. The only thing these conservatives hate more than Romney winning one term is Romney winning two terms. Some of these conservatives will secretly hope Obama wins, so they can nominate a true conservative in 2016.
In a close election, these conservative stay-homes could be fatal for Republicans, but the more MItt panders to them, the more moderates he loses, which could also be fatal to Republicans.
In the end, Gingrich and Paul will pander to Romney, but Romney cannot pander to everyone at the same time. This is why there is secret joy in the White House, while some on the right will secretly be satisfied if Obama wins.