Despite the fact that Mitt Romney has failed to garner over 27% of Republican support, even when he was the ‘front-runner’ in the race for the GOP nomination for President, the candidate still manages to hang on to widespread support. Part of the reason is the failure of candidates who have been dubbed as ‘the anti-Romney.’
One by one the more conservative candidates in the field have dropped by the wayside. Bachmann began strong but then plummeted. Rick Perry has lost most of the early support he gained when he first announced. Herman Cain was forced out of the race due to some dirty tricks that appear to be purely politically motivated. Newt Gingrich is now showing signs of slippage in the polls. The one conservative that remains who has enough support to mount a serious bid, should Gingrich fail, is Ron Paul.
Romney, no doubt, has been the main beneficiary of the decline of the other candidates. But the untold news story within the story is that so has Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s numbers have done nothing but rise from out of the cellar as others have fallen by the wayside and as Republican voters have begun to realize that unless a conservative emerges who can garner widespread support, and soon, they will be stuck with Romney as the nominee.
Newt is by no means finished as the possible front-runner. The candidate’s talents are immense, and voters appreciate his emphasis on ideas, policy, and his ability to defend his views admirably in a debate.
But as this writer predicted from the start, as Newt’s prospects rise so will his negative baggage. Not only are Obama and the Democrats poised to tar-and-feather Gingrich for his lapses in judgment in the past, but so are his Republican rivals. Rick Perry, for example, has been running ads in the South showing that Gingrich’s history of cavorting with liberals on global warming, healthcare, and several other major issues are a definite albatross hanging around the candidate’s neck.
These factors and the candidate’s propensity for shooting himself in the foot with unfortunate statements, such as his suggestion that judges be arrested by the Executive Branch, have definitely hurt.
Ron Paul has been the major beneficiary of Newt’s troubles. Most polls now show him to be in the double-digits in support, a major improvement over a few months ago, and in places such as Iowa he is in a position to outright win the caucuses next week.
Dr. Paul’s negatives for conservatives have been highlighted many times in the past. Nothing has changed. His views on 9/11, terrorism, Israel, Islam, and our defense treaties with allies, are highly problematic. However, in terms of coalition building, which is essential in a climate where more voters are describing themselves as ‘independent’ and are expressing deep discontent with both Parties, Dr. Paul may be the one in the driver’s seat.
By appealing to liberals who want us out of war and who want all of our troops home, and by bringing on board a myriad of libertarian/independent types who want government totally out of the individual lives of citizens, Dr. Paul may be the won who is able to put together the winning coalition in the 21st Century–conservative Republicans who are with him 100% on the Constitution and economic issues, liberals who support him on foreign policy, and independents who resonate with the candidate’s own inherent independence from the influence of the two Parties, both of which most Americans now view as having failed the voters.
But with the large number of undecided voters in the Republican field, anything can happen. A ‘dark horse’ such as Rick Santorum could emerge as the choice of most GOP primary voters. Newt could still hang on to his current support and beat Romney.
And waiting in the wings is another candidate who has suggested recently she may consider entering the race to ‘save the day’–Sarah Palin.
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