Zombies live. Candidates who drop out of a presidential race these days only “suspend” their campaigns.
Newt Gingrich finally bailed Tuesday, a few weeks after Rick Santorum exited. Several other contenders folded their hands earlier. Most of them “suspended” their campaigns, latching onto the face-saving semantic trick. None could bring themselves to admit plainly that they were beaten and had no remaining chance to gain the Republican nomination.
In reality, the campaigns enter deconstruction and bill-paying phases. The corpse is a corpse, but the fiction of a suspension, a hiatus, allows the defeated candidate to hang onto a thread of a bargaining chip or even possible resurrection, should the presumptive nominee implode between now and the nominating convention.
I preferred at least the surface simplicity of bygone years, when a candidate beaten into submission actually really quit campaigning, actually called the campaign ended or finished, and quickly endorsed the survivor for the sake of party unity and in support of the goal of defeating the opposing party’s incumbent or nominee.
Now the defeated campaigns live on as undead, as zombies, shambling along emitting the stench of battles better forgotten. Mitt Romney must be wishing for better friends for his cause.