Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rosie Blogs the Primaries: South Carolina

I got home from work around 7:15 tonight to discover that MSNBC had already called South Carolina for Newt Gingrich, based solely on exit polls. In a way, the quick results were a bit disappointing– I was hoping for a bit more drama, because the more interesting things are, the better– but, lack of drama aside, these results are pretty interesting.

Never before in history has a different Republican candidate won Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. In other words, this race is going to be an absolute mess. There's no cohesion– there's no unity at all, no coalescing behind one candidate.

Dad said, "They know how to divide a party. And you know what we always say..."

"A house divided against itself cannot stand?" I suggested.

What he actually had in mind was "When you build a clown car, you have to expect it'll get filled up with clowns" (and he's got a point there, I must admit), but I think there's a lot of truth to the Lincoln quote that was my first thought. If the Republican party continues to be split like this, they're quickly going to become completely non-functional. Opinion within the party will be divided enough that they won't be able to muster any significant support for any one candidate. And that is not the way to win elections. Especially not nationwide ones.

In the short term, this division means that things are looking good for Obama's reelection this upcoming November. In the long term, it means that the Republican party is facing some pretty serious problems– if they can't get their act together to unify a bit, they may well find themselves losing a lot of relevance really quickly.

Even if they do manage to reunify (to be honest, I sort of doubt that they will), they're not doing it before this primary is over, which is going to make the race very messy. And in all likelihood, very long.

I wasn't hugely impressed with anyone's speeches tonight. Maybe the problem is just that they're making all the same points they've made a thousand times before (or, in Newt Gingrich's case, the same jokes), but none of them have really stood out in any way. I just find myself... bored. And as a politician, boredom is not what you want to leave your audience with.

I'll be interested to see how Florida turns out. This primary season has already been a bloodbath, and I have a feeling it's about to get even bloodier.

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