Tag Archives: Santorum

Rick Santorum Steps Aside

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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has announced that he is ending his bid for the Republican nomination. Despite some strong performances in states with more conservative voters, Santorum was unable to match Mitt Romney’s organizational and financial strength across the board. Romney also presented a message more strongly focused on rebuilding the economy. With Santorum out of the picture it now appears that the Republicans have their nominee in Mitt Romney.

Santorum held a press conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon to announce the end of his candidacy. He had previously pledged to continue his run through the Pennsylvania primary, but he had recently suffered in the polls and a loss in his home state seemed increasingly likely.  Santorum found support in states with large evangelical Christian populations, but struggled to win in more moderate states–even when the momentum was seemingly in his favor. This led Mitt Romney to build up a nearly insurmountable lead in delegates despite his luke-warm reception from Republican voters.

In classic political fashion, Santorum suspended his campaign rather than terminating it, leaving him free to raise funds to retire any debt the campaign may have accrued. He also seemed to indicate that he wants to continue to remain an influential voice in his party’s political structure.

“We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we’ll suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting.  We are going to continue to fight,” Santorum told supporters.

While Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul remain in the race, neither is a real factor. This means that Mitt Romney can now pivot to the general election and begin contrasting himself with President Obama rather than his Republican opponents. There will certainly be differences between Romney and President Obama on social issues, especially if social conservatives like Santorum push Romney to the right. The differences between the candidates on economic issues may seem stark at face value, but when you dig deeper Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are more like two sides of the same coin.

Romney may oppose the president’s proposal to raise taxes on the richest Americans, and he and President Obama disagree on the government bailout of the auto industry, but overall their policies are very similar. Despite unfounded claims that President Obama supports socialist policies, his administration has been incredibly friendly to Wall Street–a trend that President Mitt Romney would surely continue. Both Romney and Obama would surely cater to big business, especially in one of the most damaging ways: pursuing new free trade agreements. Mitt Romney is an unabashed supporter of free trade, and President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to these failed policies. A Romney candidacy may be more desirable than a Santorum candidacy, but it still sets up the general election as a battle of free trade supporters. This means the real conversation the country needs to be having will fall by the wayside and our economy will continue to suffer.

Santorum Wins Louisiana But Fails to Grasp Country’s Problems

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum exceeded many analysts’ expectations on Saturday by winning the Louisiana primary by a large margin. The former Pennsylvania senator received 49 percent of the vote; Mitt Romney’s placed second with 26 percent. Santorum is touting this win as evidence that the American people are not set on Mitt Romney as their nominee, but polls increasingly say otherwise. State-by-state contests are the status quo in picking a nominee, but whoever ultimately wins the presidency will have to govern the entire country. Although Santorum may be able to deny Romney the necessary delegates to clinch the nomination, he will have a hard time claiming that he is the candidate most Americans would like to see as president.

Santorum’s wins are coming in states where voters seem to be more comfortable with Santorum’s Catholic faith than Romney’s Mormon faith. Exit polls in Louisiana showed that 43 percent of voters said it mattered a great deal that a candidate share their religious faith. Possibly as a result, Santorum won 56 percent of white evangelical voters. Romney has had trouble connecting with Republicans in states with large evangelical populations, but he has done quite well in states where the evangelical population is much smaller. Evangelicals tend to be so-called “values voters” who rarely vote based on on economic issues, which have been Romney’s focus.

As a country, the economy is much more important than the fringe value issues that have dominated Rick Santorum’s campaign. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted earlier this month found that 51 percent of Americans picked unemployment and jobs as the most important issue facing this country, while only 4 percent selected miscellaneous social issues, and 3 percent selected family/moral values. While Santorum sometimes touches on economic issues, he is definitively the social issues candidate. He is more than happy to spend valuable campaign time talking about religious freedom and abortion rather than jobs and economic improvement.

Santorum can claim that he is the true conservative for the rest of the campaign, but voters don’t seem to care. Republicans may not be overjoyed with Romney, but they seem to be accepting him as the logical choice. According to recent Rasmussen Reports, 83 percent of voters now believe that Romney is going to be the nominee. Additionally, the next major primary is Wisconsin, where Romney currently holds a double-digit lead in polls. Romney may not be the most conservative candidate for the Republicans, but the nation as a whole seems to think he is a better choice than Rick Santorum, even if the 91,000 people who voted for Santorum in Louisiana disagree.

Louisiana Tests Romney’s Strength

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Mitt Romney has been looking more like the presumptive Republican nominee after his win in Illinois earlier this week, but a swing back to the South will test his strength as a candidate. Romney has struggled with evangelical Christian voters, and Southern states like Louisiana have not been kind to him so far. Romney is 0-for-6 in Southern primaries, but he hopes to buck that trend tomorrow, and many analysts believe he may succeed.

Santorum Captures Southern Primaries

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Rick Santorum bested both delegate-leader Mitt Romney and Southerner Newt Gingrich to win both the Mississippi and Alabama primaries yesterday. Santorum, who has pledged to negotiate five new free trade agreements in his first year as president, continues to run on social issues and a trumped-up blue collar background. This appears to be fooling voters into thinking he will be a good president, but his economic policies would further damage the plight of workers in this country.

Republican Primaries Swing South

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Two Southern states hold their primary elections today, and Mitt Romney is hoping that the division in the conservative wing of the Republican party will give him a strong performance. Romney is not generally favored in Southern states, but with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich both pushing hard for the title of conservative favorite, it is possible that they could split the vote and give Romney an unexpected win. Alabama and Mississippi will not decide the Republican nominee, but as the primary battle drags on every state is important.

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