Tuesday, Indiana held a primary. Most years by May, a primary doesn't mean much. This year is different. The presumed frontrunner – Mitt Romney – is fighting tooth and nail to see to it that his opponent does not even make it into the running at the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27-30. Even Fox News has admitted that Mitt Romney already lost that fight – Ron Paul will be one of the two nominees in the running at the nominating convention.
There's an important reason the Romney campaign doesn't even want Paul's name mentioned – they have no idea how many delegates they actually control.
You see, you might think the Romney campaign could just open up the newspaper to learn the delegate numbers that Romney controls, but that's not the case. The newspaper only shows grossly inaccurate general estimates of delegates.
Some delegates are bound by honor to vote for Mitt Romney, others are bound by state law. Some can be unbound. Others are not bound at all. Many delegates become unbound after just one vote.
On the second vote at the RNC, we will see for the first time what kind of loyalty Paul and Romney each command from the delegates. The results will be very uncomfortable for Mitt Romney to have shown on national television. Furthermore, the results of a brokered convention can lead to a situation like the 1920 Republican National Convention where Warren G. Harding walked in with 7% of the delegates and left with the nomination before going on to become president later that year.
In three months, after having gone on a family road trip and having had some time to think about the next generation, many delegates who are undecided and leaning toward Romney might fall on the side of principle over the status quo of D.C. That will mean a vote for Paul over Romney.
Such delegates will think about the wisdom of voting for someone with no plan for cutting the debt (Romney) over someone with a clearly laid out and drastic plan for balancing the budget within three years (Paul). Paul rights the ship that we will pass on to our children. Romney is just more Obama, who has turned out to just be more Bush.
All of that was a preface to ask you, dear reader, to essentially ignore the results out of Indiana today as anything more than estimates. On June 8 and 9 at the Indiana Republican Convention we'll get a better estimate of how Indiana will vote at the RNC – based on the will of the Indiana delegates who show up. Delegates will be selected that weekend, 35% of whom will be officially unpledged to any candidate. On August 30, as the RNC comes to an end, we'll have an even better idea of how Indiana voted. Until then, it's entirely up in the air. Anything can happen at a convention attended by people with that unpredictable combination of conscience and free will.
My most likely prediction at present is to simply follow the trend – Romney will win the popular vote and court GOP insiders, Paul will win a healthy portion of delegates, perhaps somehow walking away with the entire delegation, and will importantly control the GOP by November. Those are the important trends likely to come out of Indiana.
Not until the state convention will anyone have a better idea of how Indiana voted and not until after the RNC can that vote be more conclusively analyzed. Looking at the popular vote right now and divorcing it from the rest of the process is simply an irresponsible use of data.