Rick Santorum: The Perfect(-ly Unelectable) Conservative, a Political Analysis
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Rick Santorum: The Perfect(-ly Unelectable) Conservative, a Political Analysis

A discussion on the stances of Senator Rick Santorum, and how the very principles which are winning him votes in the Republican primary are the same characteristics which would cost him the general election, assuming he was able to overtake Romney. He offends the moderates on many issues, from religion, to gay rights, to contraception, to even women's issues.

Clean-cut, articulate, and sincere; a man that loves Ronald Reagan almost as much as he loves Jesus; a family man who harkens back to the bygone era of American exceptionalism and strong family values- all in all, Rick Santorum is a perfect candidate for the conservatives to run against the liberal Barack Obama and the moderate Mitt Romney. There is only one flaw to the man: he is seen nearly universally as unelectable in the general election. Assuming that Mr. Santorum were able to more than double his delegate count and catch up to Romney, he would not be able to win the general election due to the same characteristics that make him such a strong candidate for the Republican Party. 

It is his sincerity which is both his greatest asset and his downfall. He is consistent and unshakable in the ideas which he holds; ideas which are not only not supported by the independents, but that are oftentimes repulsive to them. Because the current political atmosphere is so polarized and partisan, the votes of the partisans are worth nearly nothing. It can be safely assumed that a strong liberal will vote for the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, no matter what his views were, merely to spite the Republicans a vote, and the same can be said of the conservatives. This means that both parties can safely count their constituents and focus on those who do not lean one way or the other; ie, moderates. Because Mr. Santorum refuses to bend from his inflammatory stances on so many issues, he drives moderates from him in droves, moderates who will support the President to save them from his perceived lunacy.

The issue which is hurting him the most is his stance on contraception. Santorum not only opposes the idea what contraception should be covered by medical insurance, an issue which has harmed the Republican Party's standing with women voters recently, but its complete abolishment. He has been quoted as saying:

 "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." —Rick Santorum, interview with CaffeinatedThoughts.com (October 2011).

This is a stark contradiction from the opinion of the vast majority of the American public. According to a survey by the Guttmacher Institute over 98% of catholic woman admit to having used birth control at some point while 99% of all women surveyed claimed to have used it. These same discrepancies hold true for his opinions on the role of the church in legislation, same-sex marriage, and his militant views towards the Middle East and those who practice Islam.

While these hot button issues work wonders for rallying support for the primary, the fact that he builds his campaign on issues which are unpalatable to the majority of the American public, and his absolute sincerity in his conviction of these views will ultimately cost him any chance he has to contend with the Democratic Party for the White House.    

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