The U. S. Republican Primaries

The U. S. Republican Primaries

If you have been watching the Republican primary caucuses leading to the American presidential election in November this year, you would know how the number of candidates for the U.S. presidency has dropped from eight to four now. The first to drop out was the only black candidate, Herman Cain, businessman and past president of the National Restaurant Association. He quit because of allegations of sexual harassment and adultery which he vehemently denied.

Others who quit the race were Texas Governor Rick Perry who forgot one of three things he was talking about during the Iowa debate, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann who polled strongly as the only woman but came through rather poorly, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman who really didn’t campaign in Iowa but concentrated on New Hampshire.

The four remaining candidates are former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania who won a close race in Iowa, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who won the New Hampshire and the Florida primaries, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who won the South Carolina primary and Texas Congressman Ron Paul who fared so-so in the first four primaries.

The primaries are the selection processes to pick the delegates to attend the 2012 Republican National Convention in August. The delegates vote for the presidential candidates by a simple majority of 1144 out of the total of 2286 leading to the Republican nominee to run against President Barack Obama who is running for reelection. To date, of the 131 delegates selected after four primaries the top four are: Romney (83), Gingrich (28), Paul (10) and Santorum (8).

The primaries will go on to June when California with the largest delegation of 172 will have its primary. The other states with large delegations, namely Texas with 155 and New York with 95 will have theirs in April. For now, the anticipated date is Super Tuesday, March 6 when ten states will have their primaries with a total of 437 delegates up for grabs. Georgia (76), Ohio (66) and Tennessee (58) have the most at stake on that date.

Who is the best candidate? Listening to the debates, you would have learned that multimillionaire Romney has the most money for his campaign, is a very successful businessman who made $42 million last year but is paying tax at 15% only. Gingrich is the seasoned politician who had a hand as House Speaker in helping President Ronald Reagan ran a successful government. Santorum is the conservative Republican who opposes abortion and gay marriages. But Paul seems to be the man who attracts the young and college-educated voters with his honest and libertarian platform.

In economy, Paul would audit and eventually end the Federal Reserve System which he blames for increasing American debt. In foreign affairs, he would bring home the American troops and stop America’s role as the policeman for the world, thus cutting down the loss of American lives and saving trillions of dollars in military expenses. He is always invoking the constitution and clamoring for less government. But of course I doubt that he will be the Republican presidential nominee.

American voters are often influenced by good image and drama. I think Newt Gingrich won South Carolina because of his bombastic repudiation of Moderator John King’s opening question about Gingrich’s offer of an open marriage to his second wife, i. e., he will remain married to her but also keep his mistress. A video showed his ex-wife Marianne saying Gingrich made the offer. True or not, she knows that Gingrich was dating her before he divorced his first wife.

Voters are also polled on the electability of the candidates and who they think can best beat Obama. In appearance, Romney, Santorum and Gingrich (with his infidelities) do look like executives or presidential material as they say while Paul looks like your doddering grampa. Although Obama’s popularity has plummeted because of the poor American economy and his inability to end the Afghanistan War, there is no certainty the Republican will win. Obama’s silver tongue can still sway the voters with his oratory and rhetoric. To date, his birth as a natural born American citizen is not yet fully resolved. The display of an authentic birth certificate should have ended the debate once and for all. So where is it?

I’d like to see Paul get the nomination because of his forthrightness and his determination to bring home the American troops, thus reducing the huge American deficit. But it looks like Romney is the best bet to beat Obama and restore the failing American economy.