Opinion: Time to end the nomination battle | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 07.03.2012
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Americas

Opinion: Time to end the nomination battle

The Super Tuesday results have emboldened all four Republican candidates to stay in the race. But as Christina Bergmann points out, it’s time to draw a line because it’s obvious who the winner will be, in the end.

Officially the US Republican Party is still miles away from nominating their presidential candidate – mainly due to weak candidates and a peculiar decision making process. None of the four candidates competing in the ten states on Super Tuesday were particularly convincing.

However, Mitt Romney is in the pole position even if he's still failing to wow conservative voters. His victory in Ohio was far too tight for comfort. Previously he fought hard to take his home state Michigan and gained a last minute win in Florida thanks to a massive advertising campaign. Not exactly a sterling performance.

Rick Santorum is the people's candidate – at least among the more conservative Republicans. But he has failed as an organizer: In Virginia, his birth state where he spent many years, he was not even on the ballot because he failed to meet the necessary requirements. He also failed to qualify for the votes of 18 delegates in Ohio for a similar reason. People striving for the most powerful office in the world must do better than that.

Stubborn underdogs and peculiar rules

Voting has taken place in almost half the states and Newt Gingrich managed to win only two. It takes a good deal of complacency to call yourself the best candidate and stay in the race with such a track record. Gingrich would serve his party better if he threw in the towel.

Christina Bergmann, DW correspondent in Washington

Christina Bergmann, DW correspondent in Washington

Surveys show that of all four Republican candidates he is the least promising to topple President Obama. And Ron Paul, who hasn't won a single state yet, openly admits his chances of nomination are small. But he's carrying on, prolonging the spectacle and wasting the votes of his supporters.

The unusual election process itself is fueling uncertainty. Correcting the official result because of missing votes, as was the case in Iowa, is not unheard of, and it's not all that surprising given how casually the votes are cast.

Small ballot papers are thrown into open boxes, occasionally without any supervision. In Idaho, voters drop a coin into a bucket bearing the candidate's name. Higher election standards are needed when choosing the candidate competing for the nation's top job.

The decision lies with the conservatives

And most voters can't choose from all the candidates because some drop out at an early stage if they fare badly in some states. Already half the candidates have thrown in the towel.

However, this doesn't mean that Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann are the better alternative to the remaining contenders. But other more competent Republicans didn't even join the race in the first place, and the election procedure most certainly played a part in putting them off.

The Republicans shouldn't forget: It's all about finding the candidate with the best prospects of beating President Obama in November. But the process is also dragging on because in some states the decision is made by a small faction of voters.

In Ohio, for instance, more than half the votes cast can be attributed to the Christian conservative wing which gives them disproportionate influence. They constitute only 15 to 20 percent of the actual Republican electorate in the presidential poll in November.

Time to face the truth

This is why the Ohio result can also be interpreted as follows: Mitt Romney managed to win over many Christian conservatives – a real success. In addition, he gained the most delegates by a long chalk. He's already received twice as many votes as the runner-up Rick Santorum, who won't be able to close this gap.

The Republicans should face up to the fact that Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is the best bet in their bid for the presidency. His chances won't improve if they further delay the process.

If they wan't more competent candidates, who address both the heart and mind, they will have to ensure that they join the race next time and are not forced to drop out at an early stage. But it's too late for that now.

Author: Christina Bergmann, Washington /nk
Editor: Michael Knigge

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