I’m waiting to see who else gets kicked off the island, paraphrasing President Obama on the Tonight Show, when asked when he would start his campaign.
And that’s true. Everyone who has been involved or even cared to follow the Republican Primary knows it has been a circus. And a circus is putting it mildly.
With all the eccentric personalities, the lead changes, the absolutely crazy assertions that some candidates made, makes quite a few people think that the Republican Party is full of lunatics. Not really. But it does reveal something interesting.
Let’s be clear. The American take all system cannot possibly allow for a third party. Money, resources, and energy are at stake for the race to the top. But it does make you think.
With the big win in Wisconsin, many Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief that perhaps this thing is over. Yes, they probably do not like Mitt Romney, view him as being the best of the worst, but at least this thing is coming to an end. Not quite.
Newt Gingrich has vowed to fight on, and so has Santorum, in a last ditch effort to take as many delegates as possible. Romney is the obvious winner, and now we are in for a power struggle, back room deals deciding who gets what cabinet or position should Romney be elected. This is the danger for many Moderate Republicans who have a distaste for social conservatism; a simple repeat of the 2008 elections where the moderate McCain bowed down to conservative pressure and appointed a neo-conservative female (something that, believed at the time, covered all the bases) as Vice President, which ultimately cost him the election. There is a large debate at the moment, even if it is just a tiny thought in the back of your mind, that the Republican party is finished, or on a long, slow slide toward the dark abyss.
For we forgot one individual who is still in the race. Ron Paul. He is the great force of nature that everyone should be scared of. He has been steadily picking up delegates as well, and on top of that, he has a very loyal base. The biggest question everyone should be thinking about, is which way is he going to turn? Will he run as an independent, and if so, is he taking votes from independents who are disenchanted with the previous four years away from President Obama or is he going to appeal to those moderate, fiscally conservative Republicans that make-up Romney’s staying power. There is a large cloud looming over the country, we just do not know where it will rain, or where lightning will strike.
The Republicans are struggling, but it’s a familiar one. Two powerful ideologies, some even argue that are fixated on opposite poles, are always in conflict. Fiscal responsibility and social conservatism. The Republicans are well adapted at handling this beast. They did it during the last primary where Mitt Romney quickly bowed out and allowed John McCain to move forward as he was picking up delegates and becoming more popular with voters. But before has it been like this? Where so many different ideologies have combated each other until the bitter end? One can argue that even at this point, with the flip-flopping and the flag waving of who is the most conservative, the race to the middle, and then the race back to the far right, that this is actually pretty unique. At least in its duration.
And this is where Ron Paul comes in. Though Republican (who used to be a Democrat) he has not been afraid to come out as the black sheep, even being booed at debates, he sticks to his guns and is very stubborn. The Republicans have a choice. Ron Paul will more than likely run as a third candidate, he has the support, the money, and the energy. There are many who state that this is a danger to Obama but I highly disagree. It’s more of a danger to the Republicans. Santorum won a lot of delegates and he has some bargaining power. Plus he plays into the traditional struggle between the moderates and the conservatives. Romney may have no choice but to give Santorum the VP slot and that would be a disaster. If the Republicans want a shot in November they would be wise to give it to Ron Paul. That would do the most damage to Obama and take a powerful third contender out of the race, giving the Independent votes to the Republicans. Plus if Gingrich decides to run as a third candidate, he will probably just be ignored, vying for attention like that kid you knew who wanted to be popular but never had a chance.
But, if you are someone who has followed politics for quite a while, it becomes second nature. The characters may change but the story stays the same. And so does the ending.