It’s always dangerous to overthink. But right now I’m cogitating on the GOP primary contests and how to characterize the people who support each of the candidates, and wondering if I have thought enough.
Who are the candidates and their supporters?
Mitt Romney: His supporters are the country club Republicans and the people who base their support on who they think will win. As other candidates drop out his momentum appears to increase, and this momentum draws more and more casual supporters who don’t really care whom they support as long as the guy they support ends up winning.
Newt Gingrich: His supporters are Tea Party firebrands, fiscal conservatives, and those who want to see a candidate who fights against the real enemy. That real enemy is Obama and the Democrats along with their lapdog media. Newt’s occasional outbursts against the deplorable Pravda media have been the most reliable applause line in his debates and appearances. However, when the debate is over he’s over at the moderator’s table gladhanding the same JournOListers he excoriated a half hour before, and telling them they are doing a great job. You know, it makes me think maybe, just maybe he doesn’t really believe there is anything wrong with the Pravda media. He doesn’t really believe the Pravda media is fully in the tank for the Democrats and will never give Republicans an even break, or even back off the mendacious unfairness a wee bit. Maybe he even believes the media are his best supporters, as the delusional John McCain did in 2008.
Rick Santorum: His supporters are social conservatives, primarily, some defense hawks who like what he says about the global counter-Jihad, and some fiscal conservatives who noted that he’s the only candidate not named Paul who was against TARP, the Stimulus, and all the other bailouts and Keynesian market manipulations engaged in by the late Bush administration and the socialist and union supervillains of the Obama administration.
Ron Paul: His supporters are libertarians, disaffected Democrats, conspiracy theorists, hysterics, and anti-war populists who have taken up his cry for monetary sanity and disengagement from the insanity of the world outside America’s borders. There are more than a few Jew haters among their ranks, some racist and racialist douchebags, and a lot of people who want to legally smoke pot and engage in other personal vices.
What will the supporters do if their first choice drops out?
RINOs will take the best fiscal candidate. In 2008 they voted for Obama but Obama has caused a lot of damage. Though he hasn’t endangered their bonds and their hedge fund investments, those RINOs who still work for a living will vote for anyone but Obama. I’d guess that if Romney dropped out, about a third of the RINOs would vote for Obama with the rest voting against Obama. WHO BENEFITS: Any.
Fair weather voters will take the candidate who looks like he will win. I guess they will split the same way that RINOs split, with 1/3 going to Obama and the rest going against him. WHO BENEFITS: Any.
All his voters will vote against Obama. They will go to whoever wins the primary. WHO BENEFITS: Any.
The fiscal cons and hawks will vote against Obama no matter what. WHO BENEFITS: Any.
Santorum owns social conservatism in 2012. This is the guy who is so hated by the homosexual lobby that they named the homosexual’s wet spot after him. He is steadfast in his social conservatism, to the point that he loses some other conservative groups. Santorum’s social cons will not vote for any candidate who is on his third wife, who cheated on both previous wives, who was a notorious womanizer, and who is unpredictable morally and in his support for wacky leftist ideas like global warming, open borders, nationalized health care, and an ever-larger government. That means if Santorum drops out the social cons will not go to Gingrich. They will go to Romney or they will refuse to vote. Some might go to Ron Paul. I’d guess that about half would go to Romney or Paul and the other half would refuse to vote in the general election. This is a huge portion of the Republican tent and they don’t believe they are well served by anyone but Santorum. WHO BENEFITS: Obama, Romney.
Libertarians will vote against Obama no matter what. They see him as a communist and a total disaster. There is no other group that is as fiercely anti-Obama as they are. However, many of them think Republicans (RINOs actually) are just as bad as Obama. Just look at the military and fiscal disasters that happened when Republicans controlled both houses of the legislature and the presidency under George W. Bush. They might vote for a third party if the wrong candidate wins the primary. Their candidate needs to have good ideas on the economy and be fiercely opposed to socialism in all its forms. The second best choice is Santorum. WHO BENEFITS: Santorum.
The “legalize pot and hookers” crowd will either not vote or go to Obama if Paul isn’t the candidate. Write them off now. WHO BENEFITS: Obama.
Hysterics, conspiracy theorists, disaffected Democrats, and other populists will behave like Romney’s fair weather voters. They will vote for whoever is poised to win in the general election. Since Obama is a disastrously bad president that will be predominantly an anti-Obama vote. WHO BENEFITS: Any.
The way I see it, only one candidate of the ones left can unite fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. Rick Santorum is the solution to the dilemma of how to maximize Republican turnout. He will also maximize Democrat turnout, since homosexuals and the pro-abortion crowd hate him. But by the time Obama is done spending his multiple billions on the campaign, any Republican running will be the embodiment of Scrooge, the Grinch, George Wallace, Anita Bryant, and George W. Bush. What can I say, Democrats are awfully good at dividing and conquering their political rivals. But he’s a good man, a family man, a believing Catholic (unlike John F’ing Kerry or Jack Kennedy), and has reasonable ideas about the economy. If he finds his voice and starts behaving like a leader who can face down the Pravda media and Barack Obama now, and the UN in a year, then he might just be the right choice.
I think we conservatives may want to rethink our support of Gingrich, especially if we are doing it because of Romney and because Newt took the fight to the Pravda media, and instead encourage Rick Santorum to hit the media just as hard. God knows the Pravda media deserve every drop of inadvertent spittle that flies their way.
I only wish I were hearing the same voice of a leader coming out of Santorum’s mouth that I heard from Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. That’s the one thing I am still missing.