Anybody but Palin

With the campaign for the 2012 election looming on the edge of the political stratosphere, the Republican Party has yet to unify behind a single potential contender for the presidency.

Conservatives are currently polarized into several camps supporting different candidates, none of whom have made any definite declarations as to whether they will run for office.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation conducted a poll last month with Republicans and Independents who tend to be conservative; they found that 21 percent support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 19 percent align with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and 18 percent want former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to run.

None of those numbers are particularly substantial for any of the candidates, and they are all about evenly matched. Of course, the race is still a considerable ways off, and myriad unforeseeable factors could easily alter the ultimate outcome between now and the primaries.

But if the GOP does not consolidate their support and provide a legitimate contender for the Oval Office soon, they will minimize their chances of winning back the executive branch.

Of the three most likely candidates, Palin is probably the most gregarious in terms of her relationship with the media, even if much of her public exposure has highlighted her personal life rather than dealing with substantive issues.

However, selecting her as the official candidate to run against President Barack Obama in 2012 is probably a sure-fire way to guarantee him a second term as president.

Palin is a divisive enough figure within the Republican Party; choosing her as their nominee would likely alienate more liberal Republicans and conservative Independents. Her followers, as ardent as they may be, ultimately would not be enough to constitute a majority in the general elections.

Moreover, even a great number of those who are in accordance with her political beliefs and stances on major issues would not vote for her. According to The Huffington Post, only 24 percent of those who maintain a positive view of Palin would vote for her as a presidential candidate.

Palin said last year in an interview during a Newsmax webcast, “I’ll run for president if the American people want me to!”

However, seeing as most of even her own supporters do not view her as presidential material, she would be better served to not detract from the campaigns of her less ostentatious Republican counterparts.

The most advantageous strategy the GOP could undertake at this point would be to have Palin encourage her supporters to fortify either Huckabee or Romney in their presidential pursuits.

Ultimately, though, even if the Republican Party somehow manages to secure the White House again, it is highly unlikely that anything will drastically change in the grand scheme of things.

Julie can be reached at julianna.roberts@asu.edu


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