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An analysis of the Republican Primary of 2008

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posted on Jan, 1 2009 @ 01:36 PM
The Republicans had a tough year ahead of them in 2008. President Bush had low popularity ratings, but there was always a chance of a candidate to reinvigorate the brand. Here is a brief summary of the main candidates and my analysis of what went wrong:

1. Rudy Giuliani: The former mayor of New York City had the highest ratings of any candidate during 2007. His main problem was he was socially liberal, and the first primary goers are of the conservative base. It didn't help that his message was a noun, a verb and 911 either. Mr Giuliani and his team decided to not participate in the first states and start in a big state like Florida. They would then win all the large states and the delegates. Most of the contests for the Republicans were winner take all, and the strategy made sense at first. This turned out as a flawed strategy as Mr Giuliani barely registered in the results, and Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney were stealing the headlines while John McCain went after the moderate base that Mr Giuliani counted on. The campaign realized they needed a showing in New Hampshire, but it was too late. He pulled out everything to take Florida, which was a must win for him. By that time, the pundits were wondering if Mr Giuliani would be able to grab second place.
Lesson for future candidates: The first few contests do matter.

2. Fred Thompson: The likable Republican actor/politician was named in early 2007 by some people who did not like the fact that a liberal had the highest ratings (at the time, Mike Huckabee was pulling in single digits) and wanted a conservative name. Mr Thompson stated he would think about it, and spent the entire summer doing so. It was a given he would, but he wasted his time by not getting organized and was labeled as lazy unfairly by some in the media. Mr Thompson even missed some important debates and did not get an organization started in Iowa. By the time he did throw his hat in the ring, he was way behind in money and had no ground support. Mike Huckabee spent the time walking across Iowa and getting to know people. Mr Thompson decided to put his eggs in South Caroline, but the win in Iowa by a Southern candidate made that an impossible situation to win. Mr Thompson had higher ratings when he was not running, and fizzled out in January.
Lesson learned: Ground support and money need to start immediately. Announce by February of 2007 in order to have a chance in a primary.

3. Mike Huckabee: He actually started out as a single digit candidate with no money and walked the walk in Iowa. Many people really liked him and he won over converts slowly but surely. The damper was Fred Thompson, who took away votes from Mr Huckabee in South Carolina. Had Mr Thompson decided not to run, Mr Huckabee would of won SC, and the outcome may have been different. He still should be proud, as he won many states with the least amount of money.
Lesson learned: Small candidates can finish big.

4. Mitt Romney: Mr Romney was a governor and owned a business. He helped the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics become successful after some scandals and the terrorist attacks. He rode his popularity on that and found a following. He also loaned himself his own money to run in the primaries. His problem was many inside Republicans do not like him and as governor of Massachusetts he was socially liberal. He never got along with John McCain (watch their debates and you can cut the tension with a knife), so he would never be picked as a VP by Sen McCain. He spent tons of money in Iowa, thinking winning Iowa and New Hampshire would get a juggernaut rolling. Iowans are smart, and spending millions of dollars on ads does not impress them. They liked Mike Huckabee and made him the winner. That took the steam out of Mitt Romney's plans, and they never recovered. They did win some Western States and Michigan (which was being punished by the Republicans for having an early vote), but he was never able to buy his way to the Republican base.
Lesson learned: Money is good, but the person behind it matters most and don't put your eggs in two baskets in this case.

Ron Paul, Allan Keyes and others were fringe candidates to begin with. Mr Paul deserves credit for using the internet, but that never translated to votes. He is also Libertarian, and although some social conservatives consider themselves the same, the social issues kept them from supporting him as Libertarians are for states to decide those matters.

John McCain will get a separate thread on the general election.

Edited to add

[edit on 1/1/2009 by kidflash2008]

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