The Endorsement Primary

February 2, 2012

The potential upside and possible drawbacks of a Rick Santorum nomination-even as that scenario recedes further into the distance-have been explored on this website several times since the beginning of what already seems like an interminable primary season. Formerly thought of as a politician with a relatively weak record on immigration issues-who previously supported both bracero programs and an increase in H1-B visas-Santorum has retooled his message to appeal more to the widely dispersed but nevertheless potent reservoir of conservative primary voters searching for a viable anti-Romney. The prospect of supporting an anti-TARP candidate without the personal baggage of a Newt Gingrich or the political baggage of a Mitt Romney has led many well known conservatives to endorse the former senator’s candidacy this year. 

Coming on the cusp of the Nevada caucuses, the support of Sharron Angle might carry some sway with Tea Party members in the Silver State, although how much influence she wields after her failed run against Senator Harry Reid is open to debate. In news that might carry more import with followers of American Rattlesnake, former Colorado gubernatorial candidate and congressman Tom Tancredo has thrown his support behind Santorum’s bid for the White House. Michelle Malkin has also endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator, apparently convinced that his newfound hawkishness on immigration and border security issues is for real. Whether these statements of support will convince enough Republican primary voters to consider Rick Santorum-it should be noted that he is polling favorably in some upcoming states-remains to be seen. However, if the concerns over his big government conservatism are eventually assuaged, it should be noted that the candidate’s robustly pro-enforcement, anti-illegal immigration stance-singular among GOP candidates since the departure of Michele Bachmann-had much to do with Republican voters’ reassessment of Mr. Santorum’s candidacy.



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