Today brought news that the only sane candidate in the GOP race, Jon Huntsman, was dropping out. His exit was largely due to the fact he could never seem to get out of the shadow of Mitt Romney (moron, ex-governor, and almost the same hair). It was also do the fact that he was just way too sane to be able to compete with the lunatics running this year (the fact that Ron Paul is a serious contender should tell you how strong the field is). As Rob Reiner said this past weekend Jon Huntsman is the only candidate that believes that an apple falling from a tree will hit the ground.
So with Huntsman dropping out, there are five contenders left vying for the GOP nomination: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry. One of the more interesting tidbits of information about this election is that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are Catholics, and the two Ricks are evangelical Christians. Everyone knows Rick Perry is about as likely to win the nomination as I am. I don’t even know why he’s still in the race (which he won’t be after he gets destroyed in South Carolina). This weekend Evangelicals met to decide on a candidate that could challenge Mitt and they decided to endorse Rick Santorum, putting him as the only candidate that has a remote chance of challenging Romney.
Newt Gingrich is pretty much staying in the race only to be able to challenge Romney and help Santorum (possibly in hopes of a VP nod if he pulls off the upset?). Then you have Ron Paul who won’t drop out of the race until at least 2014…or until he dies, whichever comes first. So the race is virtually between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, a Mormon vs. a Christian.
While I fully expect Mitt to win, I’m interested to see what the evangelical wing of the GOP will do come November. They’ll have to choose between a questionable Christian (who they refuse to accept as one, preferring to call him a Muslim) and a known non-Christian candidate (because Mormonism is TOTALLY different than Christianity). So how will they vote, or will they? Could this be the first election in a LONG time that the evangelical base doesn’t play a large role in an election? It’s easy to see now why you’ve seen so many candidates surge to the top of the field. (First was Donald Trump, who never officially entered, then Sarah Palin, who never entered, then Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Chris Christie (who they were BEGGING to enter, but refused), Rick Perry (then he opened his mouth and proved how stupid he really is), Newt Gingrich, now Rick Santorum is surging with the evangelical support. All of these candidates have been at either 1st or 2nd in GOP polling during this election, even further proving the “Anybody but Romney” notion that I talked about last week.
So in conclusion, what I think will happen is Mitt will win the nomination and you’ll see a lot of evangelical supporters so upset with that, and so confused about who to vote for, a lot of them will stay home. Without their vote, the GOP will lack a significant part of their base and won’t have any chance at beating President Obama. The other thing it’ll do is help with the other races, giving Democrats a good chance to ensure huge turnout numbers and win back the House of Representatives. Now that one war is over, another is winding down, the economy is turning around, and unemployment is slowly dropping (without 1 single jobs bill introduced by the GOP controlled House over the last year), a Democratic controlled House, Senate, and Presidency could achieve a lot. It would also allow President Obama to stand up for a lot more of the issues that he really believes in, without fearing he’ll lose his re-election chances.