Skip to comments.Republican Race's Volatility is Historic
Posted on 02/25/2012 12:45:20 PM PST by lilyfreeper
Since the start 2011, seven different candidates or potential contenders could claim to be the Republican race's front-runner, according to polling from Gallup. The list includes Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In at least one Gallup poll, each claimed at least a share of the lead in the GOP race. (Huckabee and Trump are the only two who never officially declared themselves a candidate.)
As my colleague Ron Brownstein has written, the GOP race has been so uneven because the party's evangelical, conservative wing has been incredibly fickle in its candidate preference. While Romney has seen steady support from the secular, more moderate faction of the party, tea party adherents and devout Christians have cycled through a coterie of options, including Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum. The upheaval could also be driven by a news cycle that, with the advent of Twitter, is faster than ever, and the 20 presidential debates that have had a huge impact on the process.
"teamosil 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand IMO the problem they're having sticking with a candidate comes because the candidate they're looking for can't exist in reality. On one hand, they want a candidate that is firmly dedicated to the conspiracy theories of the tea party and uses the coded bigotry speak they favor, but on the other hand, they want a smart candidate that people can picture actually being president. Well there is nothing dumber or less presidential than tea party conspiracy theories and bigotry. So, every time they pick one because they like the bigotry and conspiracy theories, they discover that he isn't presidential. Every time they pick one because they're presidential, they discover that he isn't paranoid or racist enough for their tastes. They could keep that up indefinitely because to acknowledge the conflict means acknowledging the flaws in their own thinking, which the no apologies tea party is legendary for refusing to do."
The Republican base says, "We want Candidate A" and the GOP establishment and the media establishment responds, "Romney? You want Mitt Romney? Sure! Here, let us utterly destroy this guy hogging the spotlight, this ... this Candidate A person ... yeah, they're as good as sunk. Now you can vote for Romney!"
We've been through that iteration about 4 or 5 times now. I think Rick Santorum is Candidate E and the establishment is saying, "Romney? You want Mitt Romney? Sure! Just hang on a sec, someone's in the way ..."
The closest analog to the present political race is the general election of 1860.