Gettysburg, the site of the bloodiest battle of the American civil war, claimed yet another casualty on Tuesday in the shape of Rick Santorum’s campaign for the Republican nomination. It was here, in his home state, that he chose to announce his withdrawal from the race. While it is quite remarkable that a man with such extreme views has come so far, he was still the second-placed candidate, and most likely alternative to Mitt Romney, should the frontrunner spectacularly implode. It seemed more likely that Newt Gingrich, who has been essentially out of the contest since February, would drop out first. But it was Santorum who terminated his campaign, citing his daughter’s illness as a reason.
While the health of his daughter surely will have contributed to his withdrawal, really Santorum’s decision to pull out of the race comes down to the consideration of three states: Pennsylvania, Iowa and Texas.
Super Tuesday was a long and bumpy night full of highlights and low lights for each candidate that ended in an underwhelming but basically successful outcome for Mitt Romney. In other words, it was like pretty much everything else in the Republican primaries to date.
It was a night that promised so much, but delivered little. All the talk before was of the exciting scenarios that could arise from the voting. Was Romney to land the knockout blow? Was Newt Gingrich to launch a real comeback in the South? Was Rick Santorum going to take Ohio? Was Ron Paul going to win his first state? Ultimately, the answer to all of the above was no; for the candidates, ‘Super’ Tuesday was anything but.
On Tuesday night, Mitt Romney won both Arizona and Michigan, taking his record so far to six of the eleven states that have voted so far. While Arizona was a foregone conclusion, with its large Mormon population, Michigan was a harder test for him, with polls running into the primary placing him neck-and-neck with Rick Santorum.
Last night, Rick Santorum, former Senator for Pennsylvania, a man who compares homosexuality to bestiality, a man who considers pregnancy through rape a ‘gift from God’, a man who lost his last Senate election by over 700,000 votes, comprehensively routed frontrunner Mitt Romney in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.
Newt Gingrich’s resounding win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary was remarkable in itself, considering Romney’s 25-point lead in one poll held just after New Hampshire; but what was most surprising was the manner of his win. He won over Republican voters attacking unrestrained capitalism, seized the ‘outsider’ label while emphasising his experience in government, and won over social conservatives amidst the revelation that he had asked his second wife for an open marriage. How did he manage all this? With one magic word.
In my first post on this blog, I asked the question ‘Who Really Won Iowa?’. Well we now have an official answer: nobody. Following a recount, Mitt Romney’s 8-vote lead now appears to be a 34-vote lead for Rick Santorum. However, due to a number of ‘missing votes’, the decision has been made not to declare a winner.
I imagine some of you reading this woke up this morning and tried to access Wikipedia. Whether you were doing an essay, trying to remember who played John McClane’s wife in Die Hard, or factchecking a Newt Gingrich advert, Wikipedia would probably be your first port of call. So I imagine some of you have seen the above picture already. You probably know it’s a protest against SOPA and PIPA, and that it’s something to do with internet piracy, but as how controversial bills are is usually directly proportional to how confusing they are, you may not understand exactly what everyone’s so upset about.
I’ll try to explain.
Possibly the best thing about having a Republican field all bordering on clinically insane is that it makes for some incredible campaign adverts. I don’t think I’m alone in harbouring a suspicion that the each of the candidates is a comedian and they are just playing a big joke on us all. But I can’t prove that (yet), so for now we’ll have to assume they’re real and that the below adverts were actually produced in order to win elections.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, the nominations for the GOPscar for Craziest Advert of the Year…
Yesterday, the voters of New Hampshire went to the polls and acted exactly as they were supposed to. Mitt Romney strolled to victory, Ron Paul fended off Jon Huntsman’s weak attempts to take second, the conservative vote was split almost equally between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and a few people threw a pity vote Rick Perry’s way. But still, there were lessons to be learned: not from what happened, so much as what didn’t happen in New Hampshire.