The Road to the White House: A Tale of the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates

By Sumana Chattopadhyay

Republican Party SymbolBy this time in March four years ago the primary season for the Democratic and Republican parties was in full swing. There were multiple candidates who had announced their candidacies in both parties with Obama, Clinton, Edwards and Biden being some of the Democrats in the fray and McCain, Thompson, Giuliani and Romney being some of the Republicans who were actively engaged in campaigning.

Compared to that kind of early momentum, the 2012 primary election season has been off to a relatively slow and low-key start. But this month things have started picking up somewhat with the Republican hopefuls of 2012 starting to be covered by multiple news sources. One particular story that caught my attention as a political communication scholar was a story published by the Washington Post which is considered a somewhat conservative leaning paper. The story laid out arguments about why all Republican candidates in the game right now come with their own set of flaws and lack the fire-power that would be required to defeat an incumbent President like Barack Obama.

To me, that is one of the biggest worries of the Republicans right now. Mitt Romney, one of the more talked about candidates right now, has his own troubles thanks to his Mormon faith and past history of signing health reform as MA governor. Haley Barbour, the Mississippi governor has his civil rights gaffe to live with. Indiana governor, Mitch Daniels has drawn flak from his party base by calling for a truce on social issues (a comment that might come to bite him in the primaries, though it might make him a more electable candidate if he makes it to the general campaign season). Sarah Palin continues to create buzz in the news circles, but she has a lot of baggage from campaign ’08 to live with and has not shown substantial proof of her ability to build a national level organization.

Another candidate whose name is being bounced around nowadays (though the Washington Post article did not mention her) is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite who has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, going as far as calling the current Obama administration ‘gangster government’. Bachmann is controversial and sensational enough to generate some movement in the news cycles during these early days of the primary campaign, something which might stand her in good stead in case she decides to jump into the pool of 2012 hopefuls. But she might be a tad too controversial to make it past the primary stage.

Given the way things stand right now, the road to 2012 looks long and windy. I am sure there will be multiple twists and turns on the way to the November elections next year. Maybe some of the candidates making news right now or others who are not yet in the picture will manage to swing momentum in their direction and offer a very strong and well-organized challenge to incumbent President Obama in the 2012 elections. But as of now, no such clear-cut favorite has emerged.

Sumana Chattopadhyay is an Assistant Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication in the Diederich College of Communication.

1 Response to “The Road to the White House: A Tale of the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates”



  1. 1 Iowa Calling « Communicate: The Diederich College of Communication blog Trackback on December 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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