I think we can all agree this primary season has been a disaster. Our A list chose to sit out the contest or stumbled early committing ‘ritual seppaku’ in full view of the electorate. The remaining candidates are terribly flawed each in his own way and the conservative base is bitterly divided against itself. The ramifications of this are potentially more devastating than we yet realize.
Consider our “front runner” Mitt Romney. A recent dailybeast article entitled “Is Mitt Romney the Most Unpopular Likely Presidential Nominee Ever?” very effectively details the problem Mitt Romney faces. According to the article “Romney would have to overcome a larger favorability deficit than any other modern presidential candidate, and currently boasts the worst primary-season favorable-unfavorable split of any major-party nominee of at least the last 36 years.” As of March 12, when the last of these polls was released, Romney was averaging 49.6 percent unfavorable to 37.6 percent favorable—a gap of 11.7 points. This does not bode well for our “front runner” in the general when the democrats and their surrogates in the media begin their assault in earnest. Further his scorched earth campaign strategy is likely to leave large portions of the base disenfranchised making it harder for him to build momentum while simultaneously pivoting to the center to gain moderate support. “Mr. Inevitable” is anything but come November. With Romney at the helm the GOP is essentially gambling the house, senate and presidency on the hope that the American economy doesn’t noticeably *or appear to* improve before November.
More bad news for the republican faithful is the libertarians. With the defection of republican governor Gary Johnson to the libertarian ticket our nominee whoever he is is going to face a serious challenge for the moderates who are so important in tipping the electoral scales. Unlike in previous contests where third parties have nominated “Ralph Nader” and “Ron Paul” types Gary Johnson is a serious candidate with a record that is very impressive. Founder of one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico. He
served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 as a member of the Republican Party. Elected twice with a 10% or greater margin of victory in a state that at the time was 2-to-1 Democratic. Governor Johnson followed a strict small government approach. He vetoed 200 of 424 bills in his first six months in office – a national record of 48% of all legislation – and used the line-item veto on most remaining bills. Some of the highlights of his record and background include:
Left office with New Mexico as one of the only four states in the country with a balanced budget
Left New Mexico with a budget surplus
Vetoed 750 bills during his time in office; more than all other governors combined
Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone
Created more than 20,000 new jobs
First New Mexico Governor to challenge education status quo and propose statewide voucher program
Restored State General Fund reserves to more than $222 million from a low of $28.1 million
Limited annual state budget growth to 5.0% during eight years in office
Cut taxes 14 times while never raising them—a first for New Mexico
Vetoed 32% of the total number of bills submitted for his signature
While arguably 90% or more of the electorate doesn’t even know his name Gary Johnson is already outperforming the 2 to 3% we typically see from third parties nationally.
Q11 If the candidates for President this year were Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Mitt Romney, and Libertarian Gary Johnson, who would you vote for?
Barack Obama………………………………………… 47%
Mitt Romney……………………………………………. 40%
Gary Johnson …………………………………………. 7%
When our most probable nominee has the worst favorability numbers in a generation and a challenger like Gary Johnson for moderate voters. I think we all have to agree we have a problem. The question we have to answer now is what do we do about it?