Thinking back to my days of Pre-AP Physics in high school (9 years ago for me), I remember that equations were always calculated “in a frictionless environment,” since the addition of friction would necessarily change the results. Think wind resistance. Well guess what, there’s always friction. All those formulas and papers you turned in were all for nothing! It’s impossible to calculate exactly how an object would be affected by the resistance of air, that is at least until a 16-year old German student figured it out recently.

Enter Friction

When it comes to political elections, the friction of “what-ifs” can be just as complicated as air resistance in physics equations. What if so-and-so wasn’t in the running? What if one particular candidate said this instead of that? Well the fact is, he or she didn’t say the other thing. So-and-so is (or isn’t) in the running. This year, a lot of people have suggested that Rick Santorum would have become the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President if Newt Gingrich had dropped out sooner. They said he would get the anti-Romney vote were that the case. I say, that anyone except Mitt Romney would get the anti-Romney vote no matter who dropped out. In many states, Romney won first place, but with far less than 50% of the vote.

What would happen if one of the other candidates dropped out? Most likely some of said candidate’s vote would have gone to each of the remaining. Now that there are only two candidates left on the Republican side (and none worth mentioning on the Democrat side… even though some no-names are getting as much as 40% or more of the primary vote), the calculations should get much simpler, but they aren’t. The thing I don’t understand is why are people voting for some candidates that have publicly suspended or ended their campaigns? The most logical conclusion that I have heard is that they are “protest votes,” and in this case a protest to Mitt Romney because he isn’t the conservative candidate that these voters would have chosen. That would make sense to me, but only if he were the only candidate still running.

He isn’t the only candidate still running. Today, Texas holds its primary vote (which is ending as I type), and you would think that all the votes would go to two candidates, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. But I am sure that in a matter of minutes a single-digit or small double-digit value shall be assigned to Santorum and Gingrich. What a waste, I say. What a waste of a vote and of the primary process. A true anti-Romney vote would be a vote for someone else who is still running against him, so I don’t understand the thinking of those who vote for the non-candidate.

Frightening Reality

Here’s some friction for you. How many people would vote for a Republican candidate no matter what his or her name was? What about a conservative candidate (or the most conservative) no matter what? I’m talking about what some political statisticians refer to as “quintiles.” Each of 5 parts, making up the whole of the voting population, votes for slightly different reasons. Some always vote party, some always principle, others vote for a candidate that they can “stomach,” so-to-speak, while others still just wake up one morning and decide without much reason at all.

What is scary is that people do this on the morning of the national elections as well. They may or may not even know anything about the candidates, because most of their information gathering is spent on ESPN Sportcenter or the X-Factor. Not to say that either of those programs are bad and should never be watched, but there are much more important things going on in the world.

I will update after the nearly final results are in from the Texas primary, but right now Romney has about 70% of the vote, Paul with 10%, and the remaining 20% split among the rest.

UPDATE: 10:20 PM CDT, Numbers are holding pretty solid with Mitt Romney just at or under 70% of the vote (Source). Ron Paul has about 11% and again the rest split the difference. Clearly Mitt Romney wins this primary. Now the quest for Ron Paul supporters is to have their activists at the state convention next weekend. I will report on this also, as I am a registered guest to this event.