Hardcore Republicans: not to be underestimated

My very dear friend and, until recently, my BlogFather, (I can’t complete this sentence without using the Harry Endfieldism ‘…and I’m happy to say my lover’) Rich Watts is convinced – it seems – that the race to become the Republican Party nominee for the presidency is a foregone conclusion.

I say ‘it seems’ because I’ve yet to have the pleasure of hearing Rich’s arguments in favour of this position (a Mitt Romney win, obviously) laid out in any detail by the man himself – all I’ve seen are knowing mutterings on Twitter. I very much hope I can entice him to use the comment box or, who knows, even pen a post.

If Rich elects to do so, he will have plenty of evidence to choose from. Across-the-board victories for Mitt in Florida and Nevada, for instance, or new national polling data which shows Romney with a substantial lead amongst GOP voters over the ragtag rest. So there’s every reason for thinking Rich is right and it will be Mitt.

One thing I would wish Rich to take account of, however, and one thing which I have a sneaking suspicion he may be underestimating is how batshit crazy very many Republican voters are.

As evidence – compelling evidence, I think you’ll agree – I point you towards the fact that Rick Santorum has a very decent chance of winning two out of the three votes today (in Missouri and Minnesota) and coming second in Colorado. This is based on latest data from Public Policy Polling, an agency with a good track record to date of accurate predictions.

Rick Santorum. Christianist Rick, who would ask that his daughter see a baby conceived as a result of rape as a gift from God, thinks homosexuality can be compared with bestiality, and that climate change and evolution are junk science (you’ll remember The Guardian’s widely retweeted beginner’s guide).

The reason Romney probably will be the nominee is not because there are a sufficient number of sensible Republicans to outweigh the mad ones (moderate rightwingers do exist, so I’m told) but because Santorum is just one of three loony candidates remaining in the race. Should the field narrow further, Rich will be seriously contemplating eating his hat.

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