After months of mud-slinging, bitter rivalry, and general vileness, it seems the Republican presidential primary race is finally drawing to a close. Yesterday afternoon, Rick Santorum officially withdrew his bid for the presidential nomination. In his speech, Santorum stated that though he was resigning from the race, “we’re not done fighting.”
This address was given in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Santorum’s home state and one he publicly stated he was sure of winning. As the Pennsylvania primary drew closer, however, Santorum saw his lead over Romney diminishing rapidly, and many political analysts speculate that Santorum simply didn’t have the funds to compete with Romney’s impending ad blitz. Additionally, since the beginning of the race, Santorum only did well in states with a strong conservative Evangelical Christian base, while Romney steadily pulled in moderate and swing states. And with the upcoming state primaries of New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware, it was unlikely that Santorum was going to gain any ground.
At any rate, it now appears almost certain that Romney will have the presidential nomination. Both Gingrich and Paul have offered defiant statements stating their desire to remain in the race, with Gingrich hoping to become the new voice for the truly conservative, but the Republican National Committee has already begun planning to merge Romney’s campaign with their general election campaign. Conservatives may be reluctant to accept him as their candidate, but they no longer have a choice.
From a liberal standpoint, Romney is definitely the best of bad options. Throughout the primary races, he was portrayed as the more moderate candidate, a trait that led to much backlash in the today’s Tea-Party-era Republicanism. It’s an accurate portrayal, at least by comparison to the other Republican candidates’ platforms, and it’s one that Romney is likely to continue in the general election to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters.
Looking ahead to the general election in November, speculation has already begun on Romney versus Obama, but I can’t help but consider that the recently-finished primary race has left a bad taste in voters’ minds across the country. Republicans have been divisive, contentious, and contradictory, both against the Democrats but particularly amongst themselves. It’s hard to consider giving the reins of an entire country to a party that can’t even choose a candidate to represent them.