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Who Ordered The Newt?

December 4, 2011

So today Herman Cain has effectively dropped out of the race, leaving the Republican race to be fought between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and long-and-unfortunately-forgotten-Gary Johnson. Can I firstly state how completely unsurprising and inevitable this was, even before Cain’s several sexual harassment allegations?

The new trend is that we’re currently seeing flavour of the month #5: Newt Gingrich. However, to give credit where it’s due, his polling numbers (peaking at 50% (!) in Florida) are significantly higher than the other flavours of the month before him, including Cain. The point is that as commentators been increasingly saying, eventually this farcical game of musical chairs will have to stop, and someone will be left standing.

Now the widely held consensus, that I myself have previously touted, was that in the end all of these candidates would burn out and that Romney would be the nominee, particularly as he’s been receiving so much corporate money (in exchange for going back on any liberal position he once had). However, the question remains: will this happen in time for the primaries? There is a distinct possibility that Newt, if able to carry his lead for two more months, will be able to take it into the primaries and consolidate it, particularly given the extreme distrust of Romney within Republican grassroots. Romney is well known as a back-flipper – something which could alienate both the conservative base as well as moderates and independents.

That said, Newt’s past history as a lobbyist (particularly in regard to what are widely deemed corrupt relations with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), issues with fidelity are both well known, and his recent proclamations about child labour being a-okay are unlikely to help. Still, with a Republican audience that cheers the deaths of sick healthcare-less people, that may not prove to be a downside.

My current prediction? Well I never jumped on the Bachmann/Perry/Cain bandwagon, but I am tempted to jump on Newt’s, for the sole reason that his numbers are very impressive, and that he has successfully kept himself out of the fray, posing as the elder statesman. Then again, given the fickle nature of the Republican base, it’s quite hard to tell. All I can say for now is watch out for Gary Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. The man has been investing all his time and money there and may just make a splash, which has been his strategy all along. Ron Paul is also never to be counted out; with extreme dissatisfaction with all other politicians, Paul may be the candidate to unite the party and indeed the nation. Albeit, as long as people are fine with living in a country where doctors are fine with leaving money-less patients to die.

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