Holy crap- could this be the kingmaker? Chuck Norris endorsed Newt Gingrich right before yesterday's South Carolina primary, and lo and behold: a big-time win for Gingrich:
Newt Gingrich: 40%
Mitt Romney: 28%
Rick Santorum: 17%
Rep. Ron Paul: 13%
Think that's a strong win? Gingrich scored 38% of women voters, 44% of "last-minute deciders," and a 2 to 1 win over Rick Santorum with "born-again evangelical voters." While it statistically may be a strong win, I am not personally impressed. Okay, I might be a little shocked over the 38% of women voters- that just tells me 38% of the women voters participating in the South Carolina primary are either trophy wives, comfortable with the idea of an open marriage, or women who have had affairs with Gingrich in the past. Yeah...burn that image into your mind- Newt Gingrich as the Wilt Chamberlain of South Carolina.
Last-minute deciders? Really? When the hell did that become a demographic, and more importantly, how the hell would the pollsters know? Last-minute deciders being counted as a voting demographic creates a whole new aspect to the political game- impulse voting. That's a fairly terrifying thought that the politicians are figuring out to target the short attention span crowd. That's really who they want, those who love them long enough to get elected, then can't remember why they voted the candidate in to begin with. Hold on, from the looks of things, President Obama already mastered that in 2008.
So, according to Rick Santorum, there have been three primaries with three winners. Not so fast, pal. First, Iowa couldn't even run their primary without losing a crapload of votes, leading them to then declare they weren't going to declare a winner, right before they turn around and declared a winner. Bullshit. You only get half-credit when the Iowa GOP resorts to professional wrestling style story arcs to try and stay relevant after pooching their one moment in the sun every four years.
I was looking forward to this primary so I could try and handicap the next dropout. With Gingrich performing sluggishly in the polls, and his own implied importance on a strong finish being the only thing to keep the campaign alive, I joined a few people in predicting the end for Newt. Who woulda thunk it?
So where does this leave my previously predicted three man race heading into the Florida primary at the end of the month? Mitt Romney's going to have to stumble a lot harder before he starts having doubts, Newt apparently just got a can of spinach from Chuck Norris and is back in the fight, and Ron Paul is going to ride out his farewell campaign to the convention (and beyond?...) Guess that leaves Rick Santorum as the prime candidate for the next fork.
Sure, Santorum enjoyed his fifteen seconds of fame at the top of the theoretical heap, but who hasn't among past and present GOP contenders this cycle? Oh, right- Jon Huntsman, but other than him, who else hasn't? Rick Santorum simply does not have the experience, the charisma, the ability to beat President Obama in a debate, nor the electability to pull it off. There's also the massive douchebag factor involved.
At this point in the game, I am more interested in seeing who the contenders are kicking around as possible running mates, whether or not Santorum or any of the actual also-rans will re-emerge in a supporting role, and whether or not we will see a new media sensation created from a running mate. God, I hope not. Otherwise the remaining 334 days until the Mayan apocalypse is really going to seem long...
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