By MIKE GARDNER
There is a wide array of potential Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election, some of who arouse strong emotions in many Americans. If former Gov. Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann wins the nomination, President Obama might as well not campaign.
Palin carries a great deal of baggage from the last election that will make it impossible for her to win over moderate voters.
Bachmann’s well-publicized slip-ups concerning American history cause many to view her negatively, and would provide fodder for TV news and Saturday Night Live.
Donald Trump is an interesting candidate who appeals to the Republican base. Erica Gouse, President of the College Republicans, points out that he is “running a negative campaign against Obama, exposing Obama’s poor leadership.”
However, I see his candidacy as a publicity stunt, and serious.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who expressed conservative ideals during his speech at UMW last year, intrigues me the most. He is well informed on foreign policy, and should be able to hold his own in debates. His blue-collar background is also a great asset, and he has one of the strongest pro-life records of all the potential candidates, which could help him win battleground states like Missouri, South Carolina and Iowa.
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are the front-runners after the 2008 election. Huckabee has a strong support base, but will have a hard time winning over independents, especially with his inexperience in foreign policy. However, that did not stop people from voting for Obama, so maybe it will not matter.
Romney is the favorite. Grouse agrees, saying, “Mitt Romney is the strongest candidate, because of his experience with the health care situation, which is one of the most important issues facing the American people today.”
Allison Blanck, the Publicity Chair and Historian for the Young Democrats concurred, saying, “Romney has the best chance of any Republican to win the presidential election.”
Romney appeals to many Liberals and Conservatives, despite flip-flopping on several issues, including abortion.
Romney appeals to the Republican base less than other candidates, but he has the best chance to garner votes from independents, and might even win Massachusetts.
Most importantly, however, the Republican Party needs to add diversity to their ticket.
The most likely Republican vice presidential candidate is Marco Rubio, who would virtually guarantee Florida for the Republicans. Similar to the 2008 election, the Vice Presidential candidate will play a major role in deciding who will be sworn into office in 2013.