Romney Flip-Flops, Gains Steam
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 2nd, 2012
During presidential elections, voters find themselves suddenly thrown into a hurricane of political criticism and scrutiny, mixed up in the clash between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Many voters make a good-faith attempt to decide by educating themselves on the facts: what do the candidates believe? what policies would they enact? When voters don’t fully know or understand a candidate’s positions, their choice becomes murky and unclear.
This year, the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, has been the most misleading. Time and time again, Romney has stated different opinions about similar topics: though he was pro-choice as governor of Massachusetts, he is now pro-life; he rejected a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, then supported the current 2014 deadline; he supported raising the minimum wage, then denounced it as ruining the economy. Romney’s flip-flopping makes voters lose trust in his conviction as a possible future president. They simply cannot be sure what Romney stands for.
This is not a new issue facing presidential candidates. John Kerry, in 2004, had many of the same problems with flip-flopping. Before running for president, Kerry claimed that the war in Iraq was the “right decision.” However, in January 2004, he labeled himself as an anti-war candidate. He opposed the death penalty in any cases, including in terrorism, but later favored it. Kerry’s inability to maintain a clear set of beliefs contributed to his defeat to George W. Bush in November 2004.
Mitt Romney, however,will not meet the same fate. During election months, critics scrutinize the candidates’ platforms, attempting to persuade the general public against a particular candidate. Despite the apparent plethora of material to criticize, Romney’s critics have been less successful in undermining him because of his flip-flopping, and he has kept the race close. Some recent polls have Romney ahead, and most say that he and President Obama are statistically tied as far as the national popular vote.
Romney’s continued relevance may be due to human nature. Whether politically involved or not, citizens are more keen to listen to a confident leader. Compared to John Kerry and his unsure attitude, Romney currently comes across as someone who understands America’s issues and knows what he’s doing.
This confidence, however, could change in an instant, especially considering the volatile nature of this year’s election season. Whether one agrees or disagrees with a candidate’s views, people often make judgments based on current events and the smallest of first and last impressions. Although voters may still be unsure about all of Romney’s ideas or specific personal characteristics, a majority may still carry him to the White House because of his confident demeanor. For this reason, he is nowhere near out of the race, and is instead pushing forward full-force. At this point, it’s anybody’s game.
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