OK, so I was wrong. I know it’s hard to believe but I am not always right. Rick Santorum is not going to be the Republican presidential nomineee. Not this time, not in 2016, not ever.
The Republican “establishment” is more powerful than I imagined, and they simply aren’t going to run some foaming-at-the-mouth radical against President Obama. They decided to go with Etchasketch Romney right from the start, and they had the means to make it happen. They had to cook a few books here and there, pull a few strings, stack the deck, spend a few millions. But that’s what they do best.
If the playing field had been anywhere near level, Santorum would have had a chance, and America would have faced the threat of a theocracy. It would have been unconstitutional, of course, but with the current makeup of the Supreme Court that doesn’t seem to matter any more.
So it’s exit stage right for Santorum and his lunatic rhetoric. I’m betting Romney will wipe the floor with him in Wisconsin tonight. And, while he will hang around as long as he can scrounge a few pennies here and there, Santorum will turn out to be another flavor of the month, another might-have-been. And all those religious-right nuts will have to go back to picketing abortion clinics or whatever they do when they’re not attending political revival meetings.
Looking back on the Santorum phenomenon, I wonder whether some Democrat paid him to run. His antics have damaged the Republican brand beyond repair. For one thing, he has enraged the women of America. And, as any married man will tell you, that is not wise. For another, he has lured Mitt Romney into the far-right fringes of American political thought, and even someone as adroit at pivoting as Mitt cannot possibly tack back to the center effectively enough to win the Independent vote in the general election.
The election could still be close, though. There is a stubborn racist streak in America and at least a third of the electorate desperately wants that black family out of their White House. They don’t care who they elect as long as it isn’t that Muslim, Socialist, Nazi, Kenyan terrorist from the Chicago underworld. Yeah, I know. They’re nuts. But they get to vote.
And they will. They will march to the polls singing Onward Christian Soldiers while fighting for the very things Jesus tried to banish from the earth. Fortunately, they might not be numerous enough to capture the White House or Congress.
It all depends on whether the rest of take their threat seriously.
If we take the trouble to vote, the militant meatheads can’t win. Common sense and sanity will pevail. If we stay home, as so many of us did in 2010, Romney could become president. It would be what we deserve.