By Nikki Broderick '14, Staff Writer With the Republican National Convention only five months away, the GOP has yet to choose a presidential nominee. The four candidates still in the run- ning have shown no sign of giving up yet—Newt Gingrich, with only 135 del- egates as of March 23, has even pledged to stay in the race until the convention on Aug. 27. But who are the real contenders?
Ron Paul, who has been ignored nearly the entire election and in elections past, has not been able to garner much support from Republicans. Although he is one of the only candidates to stay consistent on the issues, Paul has won 50 delegates in the primary so far. This low amount of delegates, compared to the 1,444 needed to win the nomination, make Paul unlikely to stay in the race much longer. Unless, like Gingrich, Paul plans on sticking in until the convention.
Regardless, this leaves the GOP only two options: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney has been long considered the inevitable GOP nominee: he’s more mod- erate than Santorum (although that’s not too hard, as Santorum has committed to prosecuting doctors who perform abortions as criminals), has an executive background as former Governor of Massachusetts and seems to be more electable in the general election than most other GOP candidates.
Even though Romney has shown himself to be quite susceptible to changing his mind (one of his top campaign advisers recently likened Romney to an Etch-a-Sketch), he is the only candidate that has shown his moderate side on social and economic issues. However, Romney is very similar to Santorum in certain respects. Both oppose abortion, and they also agree on the issue of same-sex marriage: both Romney and Santorum would sign a constitutional amendment recognizing marriage as only between a man and a woman. Romney and Santorum have also both stated that they would repeal Obamacare as one of their first presidential acts. Both of these frontrunner GOP candidates believe in a free market and would repeal the regulations on business that they believe have hindered economic growth. Neither has ruled out military action against Iran, and they are both in favor of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.
However, there are differences: Romney believes in active government involvement in reducing carbon emissions while Santorum wants to let the free market reign. Santorum believes that U.S. troops should stay in Afghanistan until the threat is “neutralized” (though how one calculates whether underground terrorist organizations are “neutralized is not clear...). Romney has not been explicit on the subject, but did not object to President Obama’s removal of troops from Afghanistan. Romney sup- ported the government bailout but took is- sue with some of the government’s handling of the bailout, while Santorum has criticized that type of government involvement in general. So, as a registered Democrat that is already exacerbated by current Republi- can leadership in the Senate (particularly Boehner’s spray tan), who would I vote for if forced by some outlandish hypothetical situation? Mr. Willard Mitt Romney.
Why Romney? Because if he’s as easily redrawn as an Etch-a-Sketch and changed his mind once before (twice? thrice?), we may be seeing a whole new candidate by November. In the meantime, I’ll sit and hope that Obama doesn’t let this election slip through his fingers.