The first thing a candidate for President is supposed to do is consolidate his base. Romney has been campaigning for president non-stop for at least six years. Even if he pulls off a win, his performance in 2012 both percentage-wise and raw vote wise, is still no better than it was in the Iowa Caucus four years ago, against a substantially stronger field.
Economic populism is being coming an increasingly dominant force in the electorate. People are sick of government using its power to bailout big corporations while leaving ordinary folks high and dry. Populism presents a unique opportunity for Republicans to reach out to working men and women.
In the classic Wall Street v. Main Street match, there are a lot more voters living on Main Street. Yet who does the Establishment want to nominate? Mr. Wall Street, Mitt Romney. As a card-carrying member of the 1%, Romney does not begin to understand the concerns of every day Americans who have suffered through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Nominating Romney is to completely concede the populist card to President Obama.
During this election cycle Republican voters have considered some very flawed candidates. Through it all 3/4 of them have consistently chosen the flawed candidates over Mitt Romney. It is preposterous for the establishment types to continue to assume that the 75% who have consistently rejected Romney will eventually bite their tongue and vote for him as the nominee in the general election. No, what they will do is stay home or vote for Barack Obama.
The lesson from the Iowa Caucus is that Mitt Romney is not the most electable. Rather he is just about the least electable Republican in the field.