Tomorrow night is the New Hampshire primary. This is the first such contest to select the man, it’s safe to say man now as the only woman in the race, Michelle Bachman, dropped out, who will ultimately go on to face Barack Obama this fall, so all eyes will be glued to the results.
Except, well, that’s probably an exaggeration. It’s more truthful to say that the majority of people who are actually paying attention will be relieved that the mess is nearly complete.
As I write, Willard Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts will be costing to victory. According to Real Clear Politics, Romney is ahead by an average of 9 percent of the polls. This isn’t a major surprise as Romney was the governor of a nearby state and owns property in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. With those factors in mind, it’s safer to say that tomorrow evenings results will hinge more on who gets second, third, and fourth place.
Last Tuesday former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania surprised the world by coming in second place. Romney won the contest by eight votes, which this result is being disputed at the moment, but it hardly matters.
Santorum is running hard on a populist platform that promises no corporate taxes on manufacturing industries and increasing tax credits to families with children.
All of this sounds good to me. I’ve hoped that the Republicans would adopt a more family friendly tax policy. Others who much smarter than I have noted for years that the Republican base has taken in larger numbers of the so called “working class voters”. While Democrats describe Republicans in speeches in terms that would have been used in the gilded age, the reality is much more different. Republicans have been taking a much larger chunk of the traditional blue collar Democratic base in the past few Presidential elections. Our election bucked this trend, but those circumstances were mostly due to the financial crisis; overall, the larger narrative is that since Reagan the blue collar voters he brought in have made a home in the Republican Party.
Enter Rick Santorum. He’s made an honest case to appeal to these voters and has gained some serious traction. Santorum has also benefited from the fact that he’s in a weak file with incompetent competitors, but, to borrow from another blogger, Santorum has routinely punched outside of his weight.
So, while Romney has tomorrow night squared away, here are a few of my predictions:
Santorum: He’ll come in fourth. This isn’t exactly great, but New Hampshire isn’t generally kind to social conservatives. I mean, ok, Buchanan won in 96, but that’s an anomaly.
Ron Paul: Good ole Dr. Paul! Expect him to do rather well , I’d say he’ll be in second or third place. This will probably be high tide for the good doctor. He could bank on some Midwestern isolationism/populism in Iowa, and he’ll be sure to get a big chunk of libertarian minded Republicans and Independents tomorrow. But, I don’t see him going much further than that. Sure he’ll be in the race, but where is Paul going to go from here?
John Huntsman: Poor Huntsman. He should have fired his campaign staff long ago, but he’s stuck it out this far. I expect him to do well tomorrow, he may even get second place, but he won’t make it much further than New Hampshire. I’d be shocked if we see him South Carolina. Which is a real shame. He may be a bit condescending, but he’s also been a fairly reliable conservative as Governor of Utah.
Gingrich: He’ll be in the bottom again. Poor Newt. In 08, I hoped and prayed that he’d jump in the race. What a fool I was! He’s just ridicules. Poor Newt. Stick to writing books Mr. Speaker.
Rick Perry: He’ll be a nonfactor tomorrow. Enough said.
So…my predictions again (which are pretty safe)…