Happy Super Tuesday! It looks like the scariest portions of the nomination process for Mitt Romney are over. Even if he has a poor night tonight, he will still likely secure more delegates than any other candidate. According to the betting market Intrade, as of the time of publishing this post, Romney has a 90% chance of winning the nomination. So, he certainly seems to be on the road to securing the nomination, though there will likely still be a few bumps along the way.
At first glance, it seems strange that enough people would pull the “Romney” lever for him to win the nomination. Ask people what they like to see in politicians and you will often hear answers that sound something like this: “I like politicians who are principled. There is so much pandering in Washington that it makes me sick. So, I vote for people who have core values and stand by them. I just can’t stand politicians who bend to whatever the latest poll indicates.”
For those who agree with that hypothetical voter, there is a candidate in the race to support. His name is Ron Paul. Paul has held precisely the same beliefs for the past thirty years, and his votes in the US House have consistently reflected those views for the entire period. For example, he refused to support the war in Iraq because he believes that military force should only be used after Congress declares war. That position was wildly unpopular at the time, particularly in the Republican Party. But he sticks to his principles.
Mitt Romney is the opposite. Take abortion for example. In a 1994 debate in Massachusetts, Romney said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.…I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
Romney’s current campaign site states: “Mitt Romney is pro-life.…Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.”
As another example, take Romney’s position on health care. When he was Governor, the people of Massachusetts wanted an individual mandate. So, Romney provided them with one. Now, the people of the United States, particularly Republican primary voters, are skeptical of the individual mandate. So, Romney opposes the one that President Obama signed into law, even though it is nearly identical to the one Romney signed.
So, is the conclusion that everyone should vote for Ron Paul? No. We live in a democracy. Politicians are supposed to reflect the views of their constituents. That is why we make them run for reelection every once in a while: to make sure their views still reflect the views of society.
The conclusion is that voters are delusional. They might admire politicians who stick to their principles, but they don’t vote for them. Voters only support politicians who stick to their principles when the politicians’ principles reflect the voters’.
That is why the Mitt Romneys of the world always defeat the Ron Pauls of the world.