Jan. 4, 2012 For years, Texas governor Rick Perry has enjoyed a virtually guaranteed re-election privilege despite an incredibly large number of Texans that don't like him. The 2012 Iowa caucus completed with "moderate" conservative Mitt Romney winning by 8 votes -again, despite an incredibly large number of people that don't really like him, never liked him, and more importantly, will never like him no matter what he does because he's not representative of the actual party. This has to stop. I'll use this latest example (the 2012 Iowa caucus) to explain the dynamic of what's going on here.
Mitt Romney (for those not aware) is not a "real" conservative. There is no way he would have even the slimmest chance of winning against a single conservative opponent, even a week one. Romney can't get more than 25 or so percent of the vote regardless -that's about the percentage of the Republican Party that adheres to his "moderate" platform. He got about 25% in the Iowa caucus in 2008 and he got it again in 2012. In short, he can't convince anyone to vote for him that doesn't already agree with him, that minority faction of the party is not growing, and the percentage of the party that agrees with him is about a quarter of the whole, yet he is now the "inevitable candidate". Like Texas governor Rick Perry (another "moderate", just more deceptive), Romney capitalizes on being in the minority. Let me explain...
Since Romney's "moderate" viewpoint is in the minority, he ended up being the only moderate candidate in the Republican Presidential race, against a large pack of "more Republican" candidates (actually, Perry is just another moderate clone but the rest of the country doesn't know that yet). Of the six major players, Romney "owns" the moderate (that is, less Republican) vote, so he gets 25% of the vote right there. The 5 remaining candidates are left with the remaing 75% to divide amongst themselves. THAT means (assuming they're all more or less equal in popularity) that they all start out with about 15% of the vote, and will have to battle long and hard to make up that 10 point deficit by getting votes from one of the other actual conservative Republican candidates.
The time and effort this takes is detrimental to the whole process, and if someone starts to get close, Romney can just launch a massive negative ad campaign against the largest of the 5 and disperse his gains throughout the pack again so that he can retain his lead. He can play this game long enough to get to the point that popular wisdom will deem him inevitable. "After all," they say, "he's been the front-runner throughout the process" even though he never gets much over 25% of the vote. Now actual conservatives begin to hold their noses and vote for him. Not all of them mind you, but a few -enough to edge his 25% up just a little. If, as in this case, there are 6 competitors, his 25% "base" keeps him safe for quite a while. It won't be until 3 of the candidates are gone that the actual conservatives (you know, the ones that represent SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT of the Republican Party) will finally be on equal footing with the much-depised "moderate", and since the race gets tighter as candidates drop out, the likelihood of more staying in increases. If everyone's within just a few points of one another no one has any reason to think they have less of a chance than anyone else. The only loser is the voter that wants an actual conservative (that is to say, the vast majority of Republicans).
Romney's long-standing lead will continue to eek out an extra vote here and a vote there due to his "longstanding lead" status as the mass majority of the core Republican votes will slosh back and forth between the dwindling number of actual conservative Republicans, so by the time there are 3 left, his 25% will have increased to maybe 27-30% of the vote -so still ahead but not by much. Since the remaining competitors will still be close, they'll all stay in and Romney will win the entire thing with a third of the vote or less, even though three-quarters of the party doesn't want him, and in fact for the most part wants anyone BUT him. The Republican Party has been hijacked by reverse game theory. This may or may not be how it actually turns out, but I've seen this happen many times (such as here in Texas with governor Perry). It's a very reasonable assumption that this is going to be the likely course of events.
It flies in the face of the spirit of democracy to have someone that effectively has 75% of voters against him to be able to win. Romney is just a run of the mill CEO-type "moderate" Republican -just like any other. But in order to overcome his initial 10 point advantage, an opponent actually representative of the Republican Party would have to be an AMAZING politician -crack debater, tons of money, camera friendly and widely known -at the very beginning -to have a chance to even be on equal footing with this mediocre member of an extreme minority position within the party.
This is how you fix it -the "VA" ("vote against") ballot. Basically, this is not a vote for anyone in particular, but instead a vote for the most popular candidate that is not (insert name here). In this case (the Iowa caucus), a person that can't really decide which of the actual conservative opponents he'd rather have, but would rather have anyone conservative rather than a RINO, he or she can vote to have their ballot apply to whomever has the most votes that's not Mitt Romney.
This would have all kinds of positive effects on the process. We watched as Romney secured a lead against a much more powerfully placed actual conservative (Newt Gingrich) by attacking him relentlessly with negative advertising. He didn't get any new voters out of it, but Gingrich's votes were dispersed amongst the other conservatives. If there was a VA ballot, such negative advertising would have exactly ZERO benefit for a minority-view candidate like Romney. If he tried such a tactic with a VA ballot in place, Gingrich's newly discouraged base would simply vote for "anyone but Romney". All conservatives keep their base, and the one with the largest base then gets the VA ballot count at the end. This is the only way to stop this insane ongoing phenomenon where people that don't represent majority viewpoints keep winning elections by keeping the majority viewpoint broken into a million pieces long enough for the minority candidate to get established as "the one". The elimination of a large amount of the negative advertising also keeps the eventual nominee relatively unscathed for the actual election against the opposing party, and will have more resources to mount an effective campaign against that opponent (in this case, Obama).
This is not an opinion. It's not an option. This is what HAS TO BE DONE. If it's not done, this slippery slope into mediocrity will continue to erode our liberties, empower consolidationist interests (i.e. banking, big business, non-profit orgs, unions, etc.) and ensure a perpetually growing and increasingly ineffective bloated bureaucracy, ever more out of touch with the citizens they're supposed to be actually representing. There has to be a check against people with huge negatives having a chance at winning by default, and this is the only one that seems plausible.