It’s Super Tuesday: Is the end of the race around the corner?
It’s Super Tuesday, and hopefully the beginning of the end of the long and disasterous primary for the Republican Party. No one can deny that this cycle has been interesting process; well, most party primaries are. But this one has been especially painful to watch — especially recently, when the economy is the most pressing issue for voters, but some of the GOP candidates are focused on wedge social issues.
It’s hard to predict what will happen tonight, but observers say that Mitt Romney will have a good night and Newt Gingrich may re-establish himself if he manages to win more delegates that Rick Santorum, which looks like a very real possibility. On the other hand, we’ve seen so many twist and turns in this primary, would anyone be surprised to see a last minute surge for Santorum in Ohio or Gingrich not win Georgia by as substantial of a margin that polls indicate?
These three candidates — Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum — are a collective mess. While Gingrich generally respected amongst GOP voters and manages to gain enough support to remain relevant, national polls show him as toxic against Barack Obama.
Santorum isn’t much different. Polls show him doing decent in head-to-head matchups against Obama, but that’s largely because voters aren’t familiar with him. His socially conservative message isn’t one that will push independents to Republicans, and his numbers would fall even lower.
And then there’s Romney. Much like John Adams, another famous Bay Stater, Romney is “suspected” and “disliked” by many conservatives. Yet, polls continue to show movement in his direction, despite the RomneyCare/ObamaCare connection — the elephant in the room — and strange attacks on his personal wealth.
If Romney manages to make it out of his primary, it will certainly be a feat. However, he and his campaign team could have made this race much shorter if they hadn’t tried to run the race as a moderate. Casting aside the concerns of conservatives and Tea Party-minded voters was a very big mistake. Sure, there was going to be a faction inside the GOP that would never vote for Romney, regardless of what he said or did. But they could have been much more active in pursuit of conservatives’ concerns about his candidacy.
It’s very unlikely that Ron Paul will bow out, even if he doesn’t do with in caucus states. He’s running to make a point, and it’s one that has resonated with Republicans in 2012, more so than four years ago. It’s clear that libertarian-leaning voters in the Republican Party are a growing voice that isn’t going away anytime soon.
I live in Georgia, a Super Tuesday state, and I’ll be heading to my polling precinct on the way home from work. As I wrote awhile back, I’ll be casting by ballot for Ron Paul; more as a protest vote than anything else.