Wednesday, January 04, 2012
And Another One Bites the Dust. I observed here December 30th that Michele Bachmann cannot possibly win the Presidency, and a general perception that she is not electable may help to explain her disastrous loss in her native state of Iowa. She won not one single county of 99. But Rick Santorum, who also cannot possibly win the Presidency against Obama, tied for first place with the megamillionaire Romney, so electability was not the deciding factor in Bachmann's rejection.
The odd conclusion of the Iowa caucuses — a moderate and an arch-Conservative tying — shows again the unrepresentative nature of Iowa. Those caucuses did, however, do the Nation a service, in forcing one unqualified and unelectable candidate out of the race. Now media have one less unelectable fool to waste our time with. Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty both dropped out before a single state's voters spoke, and so the Republican field has been narrowed from 9 to 6, including at least one more candidate who is likely to be forced out before the convention, Ron Paul.
The general thinking now is that Mitt Romney's march to the nomination is inevitable and irresistible. But Romney is almost certainly not electable either, first because he is a Mormon, and a significant portion of the Republican base is hostile to Mormonism; and second because Romney is a moderate or Liberal Republican posing as Conservative, and few people, to none, are fooled. To the extent that the Republican Party of today hates moderates and Liberals, support of the rank and file in the general election will be unenthusiastic — so unenthusiastic that many Conservative Republicans will simply stay home. And since the Republican Party has to turn out every possible voter to win the White House, any significant rate of abstention by the Republican base would ensure Obama's re-election.
How significant a reduction in turnout might occur? Well, Rick Santorum got 25% of the caucus vote in Iowa, representing the anti-Romney, true or Radical Conservative vote in Iowa. Iowa is not representative of the Nation, and its Republicans are much more conservative than Republicans nationally. If instead of 25%, the hardcore Conservative base of the Republican Party that adamantly rejects Romney is 10% of the Party, that should still be well more than enuf to render Mitt Romney, like his father, George Romney, a mere footnote in Presidential electoral history. The elder Romney was also a moderate, at a time when the Republican Party was much less Radical Conservative than it is today. He dropped out of the race, and Richard Nixon became President. Nixon would, today, be regarded as too far Left to be electable. What chance does Romney the Younger have in the hyper-Conservative Republican Party of today? We shall see.
I bet a nickel that even if Romney wins the nomination, it will be by less than an overwhelming proportion of primary voters; and another nickel that if he wins the nomination, he will lose the general election.
Perhaps Pawlenty should not have dropped out so early. And perhaps if Romney does not win enthusiastic support from the rank and file, and (my state's governor) Chris Christie continues to refuse a "draft", Pawlenty can prove an acceptable compromise candidate in the convention. We may, in short, see a rejection of a candidate who wins a narrow plurality of the primary vote, and a restoration of the power of the convention as a national institution.
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