Republicans have had a hard time winning hearts and minds this election because of wide disapproval, even within their ranks, of George W. Bush’s presidency.
After most states held their primary elections, delegate votes were distributed among four different Republican candidates, including John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. Although popular support already seemed to favor McCain and Romney, Republican voters were divided on their choice for the Republican ticket.
So, why Republican attitudes have become so contentious this election is a common question. Many believe that the main cause is the failure of George W. Bush’s presidency.
One blogger on the liberal site firedoglake.com, named TS, wrote: “George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.”
According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted Feb. 1, President Bush has an overall job approval rating of 32 percent.
Republican supporters have mixed feelings about which candidate will be able to ensure the party’s interests.
Republican freshwoman Erin James, who chose to use a pseudonym, supports Mike Huckabee.
James said that Republican candidates had a huge challenge this election “because they had to, in a way, redefine what a good conservative president should be like.”
Sophomore Carrol Paige, a Democrat, said she thought the country’s votes were “leaning to the blue [Democratic] side this election” because of the way George Bush handled issues during his years in office, such as the Iraq war or surveillance of U.S. citizens.
Many Republicans say that Bush divided the Republican Party, ultimately breaking apart “the party’s coalitions and [setting] them against one another,” as Alan Stewart Carl blogged on his conservative maverickviews.blogspot.com.
As conservatives’ support has been spread among Republican candidates, no one knew which direction the Republican primaries would go.
“It’s hard to tell who will come out on top because there’s such a diverse candidacy,” said James before Tuesday’s primary. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Super Tuesday picked a clear winner of the Republican nomination. McCain without a doubt came out on top, with 714 delegates. Romney won 286 delegates and Huckabee won 181 delegates, while Paul still holds 16.
It looks as though Republican voters came to a concensus as to who they want to challenge the Democrats.
Now that Romney has withdrawn, McCain remains the major GOP contender. Huckabee will attempt to woo Romney’s supporters to catch up to McCain’s likely unsurmountable lead.