Rick Santorum is the 2012 version of Mike Huckabee

With Rick Santorum’s performance tonight there will likely be pressure from the GOP establishment on the former Senator from Pennsylvania to drop out of the GOP presidential primary race. So far Santorum mirrors the 2008 Huckabee campaign, obviously because of the win over Romney in Iowa, but also the bare-bones structure of his campaign and lack of fundraising ability.

Santorum voters are made up of the same demographic that supported Huckabee in 2008, namely the evangelical vote. But unlike the 2008 primary cycle, in the 2012 cycle the economy trumps the social issues that Santorum has made the central part of his campaign.

Santorum is currently polling 25 points behind Romney in Florida and without the rock solid fundraising base of the Ron Paul campaign it will be difficult for Santorum to raise money following a third or fourth place finish in South Carolina. With no momentum to be found for the Santorum campaign money will likely soon dry up and the organization will follow.

There is no question that the GOP establishment would like to see Santorum drop out of the race and back Gingrich, solidifying Gingrich as the mainline choice for the “Rush Limbaugh” Republican. Even if this should happen, Gingrich is playing catch up in the organization department. Gingrich has been relying heavily on his debate performances to fuel his campaign but the debate schedule thins out significantly after the next two Florida debates. The GOP will only be holding three debates after the Florida primary and before super tuesday on March 19th.

There is also no doubt that Ron Paul will play a large roll for the entirety of the primary season. In 2008 Ron Paul did not suspend his campaign until after the last vote was cast. And in 2008 is poll numbers were significantly lower ending at less than 10%.

My feeling is that eventually Gingrich will be forced to drop out and back Romney and Paul will remain in the race and the establishment GOP will be left wondering how to deal with his candidacy, particularly because Ron Paul is not one to compromise.

As much as I disagree with the electability argument I think that is what will eventually win the GOP nomination for Mitt Romney. And you cannot underestimate the full backing of Romney by Wall Street. The establishment GOP media has pumped it into their followers heads that the most important thing is to get Obama out of office. Whatever you think about Newt Gingrich, he would have no chance against Obama unless the unemployment is at around 15% come November.

Filed Under: National Politics

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About the Author: Robert is an educator that lives in Southeastern Wisconsin. He has studied and taught political science for over 20 years.

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  1. David Anderson says:

    It is an insult to Governor Huckabee to be compared to Rick Santorum. Huckabee was selected as one of the five best Governors in the USA after 10 years of turning Arkansas around. Santorum was roundly defeated for re-election as Senator from PA. Huckabee would make a great President of all the people. It is unimaginable to think of Santorum being Oresident. Huckabee ran a relentlessly positive campaign. Santorum ‘s whole campaign is based on tearing down his fellow Republicans. If Huckabee had decided to run in 2012, he would almost surely have been the Republican nominee.

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