With a key endorsement in New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich is gaining ground in the GOP race for the party’s presidential nomination. This proves that familiar names and faces hold significant value with the voting public. Though newcomers to the game such as Herman Cain may not be ideal candidates for public office (especially not one with the capacity to hire interns), Gingrich has managed to remain a staple in the political scene for decades despite his own scandals and indiscretions.
As candidates from both sides of the aisle have had to pack up their respective campaigns under the cloud of infidelity and questionable monies, Gingrich is a “bad penny” candidate who seems to resurface every so often — never mind his past credits from each type of scandal. While I feel like one’s marriage is a personal matter, it is easy to craft politics and paint character based on these human errors. Those indiscretions on top of collecting a nice chunk of change from 1% offenders such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are beginning to add up. America, though, seems to react to Gingrich’s shortcomings as they would to a known friend's faults.
In the 2008 election, I favored Barack Obama, but I felt Joe Biden would probably be a better president. I value his stance on education, and as a father of active soldiers, I trust that he would not have blindly led us to war (Obama hasn’t either, yet, so no harm done). However, four years ago, when I would try to engage in political conversation, some people who planned to vote and were actively campaigning for either Obama or Hillary Clinton, would meet my Biden praise with “Huh? Who’s that?” stares like I had uttered a mathematical problem. It is this fear of the unknown that keeps voters following the most likely to what they consider to be more popular. While much more hangs in the balance, our general elections are no more effective than middle school student council elections. The jock is 10 times more likely to beat the kid from Academic League. Because Gingrich is familiar and at least more consistent than his current competitors, I predict he has a strong chance at gaining the coveted nomination.
There are legitimate hopes for both parties to nominate the person with the broadest appeal among likely voters. Even though Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has a strong following within certain demographics and Jon Huntsman has a good idea once in a while, when they let him speak, neither candidate is likely to be our next president. Coincidently, though, the masses seem to fear the unfamiliar yet complain when it’s politics as usual. Where does the cycle end?
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore