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What Mitt Romney And Rick Santorum Can Learn From The Las Vegas Principle

I was shocked to hear that despite the bevy of negative television advertisements in expensive markets and the constant stream of debates and events, fundraising and spending for the 2012 GOP primary field is actually lower than it was for the 2008 GOP candidates, according to the Washington Post.  Also of note, this primary season has seen the introduction of the all-powerful Super PAC, an "independent" group which can legally raise millions of dollars at a given time.  

To explain how this could possibly happen in such a personal and vehement fight to get Obama out of the White House, just look to Las Vegas. Women, excitement, and gambling are the features of Sin City that keep the lights on and the cash flowing. Those elements also have a lot to do with the GOP candidate's lag in fundraising and spending compared to the 2008 field.  

Women

Take note GOP, though Vegas casino owners are often accused of objectifying the female body for profit, for the most part, the women have a choice of participating in such activities.  And in Vegas, I believe men get objectified just as often though not nearly as obviously.  

In any case, casino owners know what their guests want because they have their eyes and ears all over, hearing all complaints, requests, and suggestions. Customer service is the name of the game they play, and if 99% of their customers want them to offer a particular product or service, that request will certainly be honored.  

So it stands to reason that if 99% of women in this country have used some form of birth control during their life, they should be able to access it without hindrance in the future. However, this primary season has seen legislation in several states regarding mandatory invasive and non-invasive ultrasounds for those seeking or needing an abortion and funding cuts to Planned Parenthood, an organization whose sole purpose is not, in fact, abortions, but basic health care services for the under or uninsured.  

Women may be more inspired to contribute if the GOP wasn't busy considering their uterus as a pre-exisitng condition. As much as it pains me to say it, Sarah Palin was an amazing fundraiser. She's a woman who hit the right notes to appeal to other women like her. With her, they felt represented.  

Excitement

The 2012 GOP field could learn from the lights and glamor of Vegas too. Marketing is key in a town that survives on tourism. This primary field is more infuriating than inspiring, more excruciating than exciting.  

After nearly 20 debates and endless sound bites, the candidates are still stuck on pointing out problems instead of offering possible solutions, and more importantly, feasible solutions to the major problems facing America right now: the economic crisis and unemployment.    

Often in the extremes on the right as well as the left, anger is seen as excitement. Inciting anger will only get a candidate so far though, just see Sarah Palin. It's been a long, arduous battle for the GOP nomination and we have been teased with the likes of Donald Trump and Herman Cain. This is not a game, and now is the time for serious, concrete, and inspirational arguments. That's what gets people to pull out their wallets and cast their votes. That's real excitement.  

Gambling

Due to the length of the primary season and the personal nature of the debates, which have often turned petty and ugly, people are tired. They are also exhausted from this economic crisis, the worst our generation has seen. If I have student loans, credit card bills, a mortgage, and an ever-increasing possibility that I may never get to retire, why would I donate to a candidate? Isn't that risky use of my money, a gamble?  

Do I really want to give my child's lunch money to a candidate who thinks college is for snobs? Do I want to give my gas money to a candidate who thinks my taxes should continue a long, bitter war in a country where we are not wanted? It's not a good use of unemployment funds either.  

The odds are too risky. Many people have felt that the table is too cold to play. No one candidate has established themselves as the best bet.  

The asssumption is that once the primaries are over, once the candidate is announced and the Conventions take place, the money will start pouring in. Hopefully, the attacks on womens' rights will not continue and the legislation will not pass. I think voters will be re-energized and the donations will not seem so risky as a convincing candidate finally emerges. For now though, it seems that the 2012 field is behind the previous GOP field in terms of fundraising and spending.   

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