The 2012 GOP primaries and the politics of neglect

2012 GOP primaries–Santorum wins most Wisconsin counties but loses Wisconsin

More primary results, mostly predictable, in the GOP primary season, and another reminder of the importance of being able to do math and to reason. Case in point, Wisconsin, carried by Mitt Romney along with Maryland and D.C.

Romney in Wisconsin

As previously written, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell pointed out that Rick Santorum has a track record in 2012 of almost winning the large industrial states—Ohio, Michigan. Santorum maintained the same pattern in Wisconsin on April 3. Once again in Wisconsin, Santorum won among non-suburbanites and non-urbanites, but not with enough to carry the state.

 

Santorum in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has 72 counties, of which Santorum carried 46—yet another state where wide swaths of rural land area went mostly for Santorum. This is a point touted by Santorum himself, on the campaign trail.

 

The pattern in Michigan

The Santorum campaign seems not to have picked up on the difference between counties and congressional districts. In the GOP primary process, Wisconsin’s delegates are awarded on the basis of congressional districts won, not counties won. Those wide tracts of low population density amount to maybe six or nine Wisconsin delegates awarded to Santorum.

Let’s skip the least interesting and enlightening aspects of current reporting, namely the suspense over whether, or how, Santorum will be pressured to ‘step aside’ from the GOP primary contests to benefit Mitt Romney.

Romney with friends

More significance lies in how candidates like Santorum score in our ‘country’ areas in the first place—lack of information—and how we as a nation treat our ‘country’—with neglect. Santorum has not been shy about using the politics of resentment. His entire campaign has boiled down essentially to two claims:

1) I’m one of you, and

2) We’re under attack

That these claims are false has not deterred the campaign. The grain of truth lies in the second—not in Santorum’s ridiculous and near-blasphemous pretense that he is being criticized for his ‘faith’, but in the fact that any disadvantaged region is vulnerable, and world history teaches us that vulnerable means a possibility of being preyed upon.  In other words, relatively easy picking for Rick Santorum and his ilk.

Our country areas need broadband; they need good schools; they need safe potable water, clean air and viable soil. They need access to health care and medical attention, to responsible media and good communications, to safe air travel and to useful freight and passenger rail. They do not need maximum-security prison complexes, nuclear waste dumps, mountain-top open mines, toxic waste dumps and the so-called ‘oil pipeline’ from Canada, a ground conduit for toxic waste.

But the latter are what they get.

And—of course–candidates like Santorum who facilitate this set-up, which is also broadly facilitated by the GOP. Does anyone believe that that stuff about “burdensome regulations” is actually about ‘creating jobs’?

Back to the South, to the ‘country’, and to our country. There is a difference between quote-country and real country, just as there is a difference between quote-religion and genuine faith, between quote-jobs and a genuinely viable economy, between quote-debt and real deficit reduction. On all these topics, people with the least access to information get jawboned by exactly the officeholders and candidates most devoted to taking advantage of their audiences. Nice work if you can get it.

Our rightwing media personalities provide some blatant examples. Glenn Beck is out there hysterically pitching gold—at a time when gold prices are sky-high. Rush Limbaugh himself reads an advertising pitch for some company that supposedly deals with the IRS for you.

There is a broad question of why, exactly, this nation so neglects some of its most valuable resources. We are used to raising this question, at least sometimes, in regard to our land and water, but the question applies to ‘country’ people as well. Why is it a given that our rural population in the U.S. is to be handed over like meat on the hoof to some of the sleaziest and most venal practitioners of either politics or communications seen since David Duke?

 

Back to the GOP primaries

At least there has been some improved clarity in the national political press, now able to look at GOP primary voters in terms of greater population density versus less. As previously written, Santorum has taken most of the less populous counties, and he has taken states where rural and small-town counties and congressional districts outweigh metropolitan areas and suburbs–Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi. In this metric, as said, Santorum has been facing a divided field of Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul dividing the more populated areas. It will be mildly interesting to see how many more delegates Santorum picks up, as more people get hip to the demographic pattern. So far, the metric has held up (green highlighting below)—except for Wisconsin (red).

 

*Run-down of remaining contests by metro-versus-rural metric, re-posted

  • Missouri March 17 Santorum, 52 delegates
  • Puerto Rico March 18 Romney, 23 delegates Winner-take-all statewide
  • Illinois March 20 Romney, 69 delegates
  • Louisiana March 24 Close three-way race, one of Santorum’s better hopes, 46 delegates Proportional
  • DC April 3 Romney, 19 delegates Winner-take-all statewide [Santorum not on ballot]
  • Maryland April 3 Romney, 37 delegates Winner-take-all combined
  • Wisconsin April 3 Maybe Santorum, 42 delegates Winner-take-all combined
  • Connecticut April 24 Romney, 28 delegates Winner-take-all at 50%+
  • Delaware April 24 Romney, 17 delegates Winner-take-all statewide
  • New York April 24 Romney, 95 delegates Winner-take-all at 50%+
  • Pennsylvania April 24 Romney, 72 delegates
  • Rhode Island April 24 Romney, 19 delegates Proportional
  • Indiana May 8 Santorum, 46 delegates Winner-take-all combined
  • North Carolina May 8 Close three-way, something for Santorum, 55 delegates Proportional
  • West Virginia May 8 Santorum, 31 delegates Proportional
  • Nebraska May 15 Santorum, 35 delegates
  • Oregon May 15 Maybe Santorum, 28 delegates Proportional
  • Arkansas May 22 Santorum, 36 delegates Proportional/mixed
  • Kentucky May 22 Santorum, 45 delegates Proportional
  • Texas May 29 Romney/Gingrich, 155 delegates Proportional
  • California June 5 Romney, 172 delegates Winner-take-all combined
  • Montana June 5 Maybe Santorum, 26 delegates
  • New Jersey June 5 Romney, 50 delegates Winner-take-all statewide
  • New Mexico June 5 Romney, 23 delegates Proportional
  • South Dakota June 5 Maybe Santorum, 28 delegates Proportional
  • Utah June 26 Romney, 40 delegates Winner-take-all statewide
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