So, How Did They Do? A recap of the Republican primaries

15Apr12

With Rick Santorum suspending his campaign this week, it has become clear that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for the Presidency. With that clear, it is worth looking at whether the candidates achieved their goals. Obviously, only Romney achieved the primary goal of winning the nomination, but there are secondary goals that I will infer and analyze:

Mitt Romney:

He has the nomination all-but won — after five years of campaigning. His secondary goal must be to justify four years out of work (only earning twenty million dollars a year) to Ann. Since he has the nomination, that goal must be considered met.

Rick Santorum:

He must be considered the semi-official runner-up. His secondary aims were likely to return to relevance in politics, pushing social issues to the forefront for the Republican Party, and dealing with his ‘Google problem. He succeeded in the first two (since the Republicans have nominated the previous runner-up in every election without a Republican incumbent since 1980, he is in pole position for the 2016 nomination if Romney loses). However the Spreading Santorum website still tops his campaign website in Google search results.

Ron Paul:

He is still officially a candidate, but despite the ardor of his supporters, he still finishes fourth. His secondary aim (if not his primary one) is likely to pressure the Republican Party into a more libertarian stance. Fiscally, it seems to have worked, but the party still vocally backs intrusive government in social issues and a militarily interventionist foreign policy.

Newt Gingrich:

Bounced checks and all, Gingrich remains in the race. His secondary aims appear to be returning to relevance and reminding people of who he is. He appears to have succeeded in the second, but that probably contributed to his failure to win the nomination or return to relevance.

Rick Perry:

Perry believed the press he was given, and entered because the Republicans wanted a white knight. His sole aim appears to have been to win the nomination — because the party needed him to. Unfortunately for him, the party didn’t actually want a white knight.

Michele Bachmann:

Bachmann is both a social and fiscal conservative, who wanted to bring both social and fiscal issues to the forefront. Though she wasn’t in the race long, the direction that the party has taken reflects those values.

John Huntsman:

The sole true moderate of the campaign, Huntsman seemed to hope to win the nomination, and to shift the party to a more moderate direction. Sadly, it appears that he failed with both.

Donald Trump:

Never a declared candidate, Trump toyed very publicly with the idea of running. His non-candidacy appears to have been solely to hype The Apprentice.

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