Recently, people have been asking whether Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are literally crazy. I don’t think anyone is asking this of Mittens, but mostly because someone who is considered that dull can’t possibly be crazy. (Disclaimer: Although I’m disappointed that Mittens thinks the Final Four happens in the middle of February, I do not think he’s as boring as most believe. Shockingly awkward, duh, but he’s a little too bitter and disillusioned to be boring.)
It might seem crazy that these two are still in the race despite clearly having no shot in hell of winning the nomination unless Mitt Romney peels off his face and shows us that he’s actually a zombie Richard Nixon. And even then, I would probably take a shuffling, brain-munching, soulless (not too different, really) Richard Nixon over Santorum/Gingrich. But truthfully, I don’t see why Rich or Newt would ever leave the race. While different motivations drive each man, both of them are being rational in remaining in the running. (I use rational here in the only way that I know how after two years of HLS learnin’—maximizing one’s own interests).
For Santorum, he has a teeny chance of winning. Again, this would probably require a man-on-man-on-goat sex scandal for Romney, but shit happens. I’m sure one could refer back to multiple elections where the underdog ended up with the nomination, but I frankly don’t want to look that up. Additionally, the longer Santorum stays in the race, the more we forget about his frothiness. Even a failed presidential campaign will put a nice gloss over failing to win Senate reelection in your “home” state. He also sets himself up nicely for 2016; he’s the Little Engine That Could and I’m sure that some people will admire his tenacity and sexism and whatnot.
Gingrich also has no good reason to leave the race. His political career is over—this is his last chance to remain in the national spotlight. Maybe if he’s annoying enough, he can secure some nominal job in a new Republican administration. Like Santorum, it’s not like it’s his money going down the drain. (Undoubtedly, the people who are funding Gingrich are crazy.) If anything, Gingrich is using all of this as an opportunity to spend some campaign funds on his homuncula of a wife.
BUT, you say, it seems crazy because they are harming the Republican Party by using up Romney’s funds and weakening the support for an already weak candidate. Don’t they care about the good of the Party? Don’t they want to hold hands and work together to beat Obama? Nope. Santorum and Gingrich both started off (and won states) because they were outsiders. The Republican Party has soundly rejected them, regardless of any titillating promises the GOP may be making now. The established members—Jeb Bush, Christie, Cantor, Huntsman (sigh)—have thrown their collective weight (har har) behind Romney. They remember Gingrich’s volatility and they are embarrassed by Santorum’s religious fervor and misunderstanding of the Constitution and men’s fashion.
This is all to say, we have to endure a lot more of these two before November comes around.
Lisa Wang is a 2L. Her column runs every other Wednesday, and she also be provides commentary on the Republican primary debates.
The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Record.