THE WRITING on the wall is becoming bigger and bigger. The message is that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee in the November election.
Romney's six-year quest to be the GOP standard-bearer came into more clear focus following Tuesday's Illinois primary. Romney finally delivered the decisive victory needed to stamp him as the prohibitive favorite to claim his party's nomination.
Voters in the Land of Lincoln gave Romney resounding support. The former Massachusetts governor received 47 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum, who has been snipping at Romney's heels as of late, was a distant second with 35 percent.
Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each garnered single-digit backing. Such a paltry total should send a loud message to both: it's time to exit the race and help begin party unification.
Santorum, despite his disappointing Illini performance, remains undaunted. He is hoping Louisiana voters offer him a much kinder fate come Saturday.
Regardless of the results on the Bayou, it appears inevitable that Romney will leave the national convention this summer in Tampa with the charge of challenging Barack Obama.
Romney has a lopsided delegate count on his side as well as the financial resources, as reflected by his outspending Santorum by a 7-1 margin in Illinois alone.
Romney also has 563 delegates in hand, with 1,144 needed to secure the nomination. Santorum is a very distant second with 263.
After the Louisiana primary, a 10-day hiatus surfaces before voters return to the polls at several venues including Washington, D.C., where Santorum is not even on the ballot.
It may prove a prudent time for all Romney challengers to take stock and realize they are campaigning in futility. If their best interests are for a Republican occupying the White House in 2013, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul & Co. need to get behind Romney sooner rather than later.