PARMA, Ohio—What happens in Ohio politics never stays in Ohio, and there are two story lines here on the eve of Super Tuesday.
There is, first, the Republican presidential primary fight. Rick Santorum has to win Ohio to keep his candidacy alive. A Mitt Romney triumph would, at last, turn him into the “inevitable” Republican nominee. The second narrative involves the struggle for a state that Republicans must take in November to have any chance of defeating President Obama.
The problem for Republicans is that the two story lines are not coming together.
Ideally, the arguments candidates make during key state primaries are also a case for why voters should back them come election time. This is what happened here—and also in states such as Indiana and North Carolina—during the epic fight for the Democratic presidential nomination between Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008.