Looking Back at Tuesday’s Primaries

Rick Santorum Wins Again

 “Why don’t y’all people like me? I said I love ‘cheesy grits’, catfish and hushed puppies. What more do you want from me? Want me to drink a Coca-Cola? Bring it on. I’ll drink coffee if that’s what it’ll take to get your votes. I’ll learn how to hunt and kill ‘dem dere varmints you people love so much. Heck, I’ll even hate black people if that’ll help. Just tell me what you want me to be and dadgumit, I’ll either become it or go out and buy it. ”

Live    Results Mitt Romney Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich Ron Paul
Alabama Primary 98.3% reporting 29.0% 34.5% 29.3% 5.0%
Mississippi Primary 99.3% reporting 30.3% 32.9% 31.3% 4.4%
Hawaii Caucus 33.3% reporting 32.6% 28.3% 15.7% 23.4%

If nothing else, Tuesday night served to reinforce the growing belief that much like Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side in 2008, Mitt Romney’s “inevitability” has taken yet another hit. The latest signs occurred in a region, the Deep South, where his vast wealth and the accompanying sense that he simply can’t identify with average Americans, moderate past and Mormon religion are liabilities that simply can’t be overcome. Yes, he and his people have studied the 2008 Obama campaign strategy of focusing on strategic states that can be won and the all-important delegate count. Unfortunately, Romney doesn’t have a natural base such as African-Americans who gave Obama crucial wins in states like South Carolina, to fall back on when the going gets tough.

Even more telling for Romney is the fact that he’s losing to a candidate, Rick Santorum, that many just don’t believe can win the general election against Barack Obama. A candidate, who based on many of his statements and proposed policies, seems to have a desire to impose an extremely conservative Christian theocracy upon the country. It was one thing for Hillary Clinton to eventually lose to Barack Obama, another for Romney to be losing to one of the gloomiest, anti-women, looniest candidates the GOP has seen in decades.

Furthermore, something that the mainstream media seems to ignore at best and run away from at worst, is the glaring fact that based on the turnout at their events, no matter where they occur in the country, Republicans seem to be running for the presidency of “White America.” We all know that African-Americans, by and large, vote Democratic and that’s not going to change significantly anytime soon, and surely not as long as Barack Obama is a candidate. But, after making significant inroads with Hispanic and Asian voters under George W. Bush, the party’s strident attitude towards undocumented immigrants along with decidedly anti-gay and women’s rights messages and an increasing call for supporting any Israeli led attacks on Iran, the party looks and seems virtually all-white and evangelically Christian at a time when American society is more racially and culturally diverse than ever before.

While it makes for great Internet conversation and provides fodder for the political media, the very idea of a “brokered” convention is the last thing the Republican Party’s powers-that-be want or even think about. Such a spectacle, broadcast on network and cable television, blogged and tweeted about incessantly, is the absolute last thing any party, particularly one going against an incumbent president, wants or needs.

The one thing that Romney was counting on at the start of the campaign was the sense that, based on his constant network building and campaigning since 2008 on his track record as an uber-successful businessman, he was the only candidate with even the hint of a chance of defeating President Obama. This was at the core of the aura of inevitability that he and his supporters tried to convey to the American people and media. That aura is now not only gone, it’s been shattered into a thousand pieces.

I’ve been writing for months now that Mitt Romney’s biggest weakness isn’t his record as governor of Massachusetts, but his reluctance to run on it. When, and if he ever does, stops pandering to the right-wing of his party, embraces his true personality and runs on his accomplishments in office, not only will he offer voters a clearer contrast between he and the rest of the Republican field, he’ll become a much better candidate.

“To thine own self be true.”


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