Protracted Republican Primaries Spell Trouble and Probable Defeat for Obama, M. Frindéthié

The apparent undecidability of the 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries and especially the Romney-Santorum long-drawn-out contest forebodes difficulty for President Obama in his reelection bid. If the prolonged Republican presidential primaries can indicate one clear element, it is that Romney has made the conscious choice of positioning himself as a centrist, thus garnering the majority of mainstream Republican votes, but failing to convince ultra-conservatives, who see Santorum as the aspirant that voices their concerns the best. Nevertheless, the Republican primaries, which are undecidable only in appearance, will indubitably conclude with a Romney win over Santorum, though with heavy pressure on Romney to choose the ultra-conservative Santorum as his running mate in order not to estrange Southern conservatives on Election Day.

A Romney-Santorum ticket will be a tough team for Obama to beat for several reasons. Such a team will motivate Republicans in an unprecedented way as the concretion of moderate and conservative interests, and it will boost turnout on Election Day. This will be crucial, especially at a time when the excitement generated by the 2008 Obama campaign among American minorities, anti-war electorate, and students and scholars seems to have expired over unfulfilled promises and dismal economic performances. In 2012, given his past uncompromising, muscled politics in the Middle-East and in Africa, Obama will no longer be able to claim for himself the label of anti-war-candidate that drew so many peace-loving activists, scholars, and youths to his campaign and even won him an untimely Nobel Peace Prize. Furthermore, to many Americans of African descent, Obama will not be able to argue successfully that he is the candidate for the advancement of democracy in Africa, given his support of one of the most brutal deflation of democracy in Africa (the case of Cote d’Ivoire). And finally, to America in general, Obama will not be able to claim for himself the label of prosperity-candidate, given his miserable economic performance that tossed millions more Americans into precarity.

The prolonged Republican primaries allow Romney to appear as a centrist to more and more Americans, thus rupturing Obama’s portentous monopoly on centrism. In 2012, most Americans will certainly want to try a Romney-Santorum equation, by all appearances a centrist ticket, for, indeed, presidents, and not their vice-presidents, do design national and foreign policies.  

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