Rush Limbaugh possibly not supporting any Republican Presidential candidates.

Raw Story now reports on its front page that Rush Limbaugh may not support any of the Republican presidential candidates. It seems that the right-wing political movement is now in its last throes, seeing that there is no clear favorite in the race and none of the current candidates can unite them like Ronald Reagan did.

And Limbaugh is hardly the only gatekeeper who may sit out this race. The Republican Party is controlled by many gatekeepers, including Dobson, Norquist, and many others. Dobson, for instance, has refused to give his blessing to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or Fred Thompson. The fact of the matter is that the social conservatives who provide the boots on the ground only have one candidate — Ron Paul, who meets their purity tests on abortion, gays, gun control, immigration, and taxes. Paul does not have the blessing of one of the key wings of the Republican Party — the defense hawks and neocons, given his opposition to Iraq. However, the fact that he is the only antiwar voice in the GOP and 34% or so of Republicans do not approve of Bush’s handling of Iraq means that he is competitive.

The Republican Party is fracturing apart at the very seams, breaking into many different political factions. One more political faction, the moderates and secularists, showed that they were able to flex their political muscle by delivering South Carolina for McCain over Mike Huckabee. McCain’s vote was delivered by older voters who did not go to church once a week, who had not lived in South Carolina all that long, and who were pragmatic in their outlook and who wanted to vote for the most electable candidate. Demographic changes in the country suggest that the Reagan coalition that delivered them to five out of the last seven elections, spearheaded by these gatekeepers, may be a thing of the past. New Hampshire, also a secularist stronghold, also broke for McCain over Huckabee.

However, McCain does not have a lock on the nomination at all; his biggest rival may well be Mitt Romney. Although Mike Huckabee will be able to peel off a few Southern states, he is likely finished after his inability to win in his own backyard; his “take a pole and shove it up your ass” moment may have spurred a secularist backlash against him. Giuliani will be able to compete and take votes away from McCain in the east; however, he is likely on the ropes as well, while Thompson is finished. However, Mitt Romney is leading the delegate count and has developed strongholds in the West as well as Michigan. If he can stay competitive in the East and Florida while taking the West, then he will be able to compete.

But the Democrats are badly split, and this means that McCain has a shot at taking the election. The partisan warfare between the Obama and Clinton camps is so vicious that McCain may be able to succeed in peeling off many disaffected Democrats who would refuse to vote for one or the other under any circumstances. Clinton may have the best shot at McCain; Obama, at the debates in South Carolina last night, was very weak and wobbly under the two-pronged attack launched by Clinton and Edwards. Edwards is finished as a nominee, but he could still get enough delegates to play kingmaker; the other two candidates treated him with kid gloves for the most part even as they went for each others’ throats. His strong showing in the SC debates could lead to enough votes to earn delegates and thus stay in the race.

But Obama would have an advantage over Hillary if he were to win; he would be able to peel off fundies who had voted in lockstep with the Republicans. The endorsements of him by right-wing preachers suggest that the Republicans would not be able to take the fundie vote for granted if Obama were to win; they could cross over and vote for Obama as there is no love lost between McCain and the fundies. However, McCain, thanks to his pro-immigrant policies, could peel off Hispanics from Obama and resurrect the Rovian goal of bringing in minority votes into the GOP; he would have a much harder time of that against Hillary.

With the fundies possibly sitting out this race thanks to McCain’s prospective nomination, or worse, voting for a Democrat if Romney were to win, we are looking at a major political realignment in this race. The old traditional coalitions that the Republicans used to win elections are falling apart; the challenge for both sides will be to try to create new coalitions totally from scratch.


Skip to comment form

  1. if there is an independent they’ve all agreed to back just waiting in the wings…

Comments have been disabled.