Public recognition, infamy, publicity stunts and mistakes, extremism, or lack there-of; The 2012 GOP race has possessed each of these qualities. It has been an interesting one to watch, and an even more interesting race to understand. It is February of 2012, leaving us nine months before Election Day. The race has divided the Grand Old Party, with levels of support strong for very different candidates. For the first time, there isn’t really a reason why these three politicians seem to have prevailed; Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have risen above the rest. This race has turned into a three man battle, and it continues to be between these men, or has the Republican party already decided?
Just less than a year ago, Americans listened to Herman Cain with awe, interest and for many, hope. The nation watched as scandal after scandal unfolded, and debates were lost. Cain isn’t the only candidate to fissure and dissolve into the hall of lost politicians. In August, it seemed that Governor Rick Perry was a successful prospect for the bid, his numbers ahead of former Governor Mitt Romney. In October of 2011, Perry had raised $17 Million in the third quarter, (NY Daily News) leading against all republican candidates. His decline began in September and October of 2011, when
he was repeatedly placed on the defensive in debates. He quickly compromised his public approval, erring in knowledge and publicity mishaps. Rick Perry announced his drop for the presidential bid on January 19, 2012, just two days before South Carolina’s primary. Americans saw an epic rise and fall with Michele Bachmann. Rick Perry’s entrance into the race stole Bachmann’s spotlight and her ability to own every Tea Party vote.
The erosion of idealism within the Republican party, and the swift decline of several probable nominees clouds the doubt that continues to remain; Can this candidate actually beat President Barack Obama? Michele Bachmann concerned Republicans with her significant lack of knowledge and experience with a national economy. Her impudence, opinion and strong will allowed her to remain a viable candidate for as long as she did. However, impudence, a president does not make.
The coming weeks mark the race to the Republican nomination’s national phase. Primaries are conducted in several states at a time, in contrast to the recent focus on specific states, one day at a time. Strategies will shift, and state focused campaigning GOP candidates will now begin to focus their attention to campaigning nationally. The next six months will determine who will actually be the nominee to challenge President Barack Obama for the White House in November.
The issue that republicans face if Mitt Romney is selected to represent the party in November is an underlying reluctance from the republican base to elect a Mormon. In a mid 2011 Gallup poll, 20 percent of republicans said that they would not elect a Mormon for president. As accurate as this statistic may or may not be, the United States is not ready to dismiss its founders, just yet. A nation with the separation of church and state, it is argued, cannot be lead by a Mormon, so tied to his own religious beliefs that they risk influencing his policy making. Republicans have carefully observed and recorded Mitt Romney’s past as well as his legislation throughout his leadership. His habits and his politics have been bipartisan to say the least. Republicans fear the moderate nature of Romney’s past, and his occasional yield to the Democrats’ wants and needs. There is no doubt that Romney is the most qualified and electable candidate, but the question remains; Will republicans refuse to elect a Mormon president and allow four more arduous years, as our current leader is re-elected?
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