It has become accepted as a matter of fact in some circles that Rick Santorum is completely unelectable in a general election. He is so outside the mainstream that Barack Obama would simply wipe the floor with him. I’ve even seen it asserted by more than one commenter than Santorum wouldn’t even match Walter Mondale’s electoral vote total.
The more extreme claim is patently ludicrous to anyone even remotely familiar with America’s political landscape. I would suggest that, at a minimum, no Republican candidate can lose the following states in the upcoming presidential election: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. I’ve left out states like Alaska and West Virginia that I think are longshots for Obama as well. That’s not exactly Mondale territory – that’s not even Dukakis bad.
Fine, you say, Santorum won’t lose every state. He still can’t hold the line in swing states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Missouri and others. He is just too extreme for these states.
Really? So the guy who won statewide election in a leaning-Democratic swing state twice has no shot in leaning-Republican swing states? Yes, I know that Santorum lost by 18 points the last time he ran in Pennsylvania, and that should not be so casually dismissed. But he did win twice, and he ran as a conservative no different from the man he is now.
As for Santorum’s 18 point loss – yes, it is bad and it looks strange that someone who lost by such a large amount in his last election could possibly win the presidency. I would just note that in November 2006 Mitt Romney’s approval rating in the state of Massachusetts stood at 34 percent. The only reason he was not shellacked in his re-election effort is because he didn’t even attempt to run again.