It wont work, Rick It won’t work, Rick - NYPOST.com Santorum strategy no longer adds up Last Updated: 12:56 AM, March 22, 2012 Posted: 11:27 PM, March 21, 2012 Rick Santorum surely knows he has no way to win the Republican race after his thumping in Illinois on Tuesday night. After his commanding win there, Mitt Romney not only has more than twice the delegates (560 to 246), but a third again as many votes nationwide as Santorum (4.1 million to 2.8 million). Newt Gingrich knows he cant win the nomination; thats why he was in DC last weekend looking at cherry blossoms with a Secret Service detail surrounding him. The race is over for them. Romney has beaten them. Of the 34 contests thus far, Romney has won 20, and lost a 21st (Iowa) to Santorum by only 34 votes. AP Just another word for nothing left to lose? Santorum looks pretty lonely at a campaign event yesterday. Yet Santorum and Gingrich continue to run, forcing Romney to spend money to defeat them he might more usefully spend to defeat President Obama. Why? Simple: Theyre trying to induce an unprecedented party crisis which is supposed to be an opportunity for them and the GOP. But their reasoning is cracked, to say the least. Theyre hoping to deny Romney an outright majority of delegates (he needs 1,144) when the primaries end in June. The goal is to create a general Republican panic and uproar that will result in Romney failing to win on the first ballot at the GOP convention in Tampa. At which point, under the rules, Romneys delegates will be freed to vote for whomever they choose. Of course, so would Santorums and Gingrichs delegates. And should such a contested convention take place, it is almost certain that neither one of them would actually end up as the nominee. Why? First, Romneys near majority of delegates would have no reason to switch allegiances. Second, not to put too fine a point on it, Santorum and Gingrich are this years losers. Six weeks ago, when talk of a contested convention first bubbled up, there was a logic to the Santorum convention strategy: If Romney got weaker and weaker and Santorum got stronger and stronger, you could see Mitt fading through the summer after the primaries and Rick gaining momentum into Tampa. Thus Santorum would arrive at the convention like an insurgent general with his Tea Party troops behind him, deny Romney a first-ballot win and then force everyone to surrender to his epoch-altering grass-roots support. But that scenario didnt play out, to put it mildly. Romney may not be a particularly strong front-runner, but Santorum hasnt turned out to be much of a dark horse, either. Gingrich? A little-known party rule may take him out altogether. Word flew around GOP circles on Tuesday night that the only way someones name can be placed into nomination is if he wins a plurality of the delegates in five states. Gingrich has two, and is unlikely to get more. (Ron Paul has none.) Think all this through, and this is what you get: Gingrich and Santorum are trying to ensure that Romney doesnt win the nomination . . . while having almost no chance, either of them, to get it. So what then? A magical figure descends from the heavens, one of the people who took a look at the 2012 election and decided he (or she) couldnt actually win and therefore didnt run? Fun! But where would such a person find a ready-made campaign organization to take on Barack Obama in the seven weeks until Election Day with local organizations county by county and neighborhood by neighborhood, SuperPACs at the ready. Oh, and a vetted vice-presidential nominee as well? Any such scenario involving an unprepared candidate and running mate would likely be a world-historical disaster, far worse for the GOP than even a weak nominee, as the consequences further down the ticket would be parlous, as well. So, if things go the way Gingrich and Santorum hope they might, the result will be a presidential candidate who is neither Newt nor Rick an untested national figure wholl lose to Obama in a landslide that might help bring about a Democratic takeover of the House and prevent a GOP takeover of the Senate. Or they could choose Option 2: Get out, let Romney work at bringing the GOP together (and stop wasting money battling them) and be credited with helping give the GOP a fighting chance at victory in the fall. Third Option: They can just go on, because they cant bring themselves to get out. Logic calls for Option Two, but figure on Option Three.