Mitt Romney will win the Nevada caucuses today. With 19% of precincts reporting, he has over 50% of the vote. John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Sen. Thompson are in a close contest for second with roughly 10% support each. The large LDS population in Nevada certainly helped Romney but his support goes far beyond that population. With these results I think that Thompson, Giuliani, Hunter, and Tancredo should drop out of the race. It’s true that Thompson and Giuliani will do better in other states; however, the Republican party needs to focus on the three to four front-runners. I would even like to see Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee drop out of the race. I think that they are both decent candidates – Paul is too extreme for most people though – but they will not win the candidacy. Neither could win the national election either. The Republican race is turning into a race between McCain and Romney, regardless of how the candidates do in South Carolina.
It’s too early to comment on the Democratic race. Even though Clinton is ahead in polls I think that Obama will certainly give her a run for her money. I think that John Edwards will be out of the race after Nevada’s caucuses. He’ll still campaign but he will drop out of the serious contender category.
What the campaigns have shown so far is that while Democrats tout themselves as upholders of diversity, the Republican contest shows that the Republican party has a much greater diversity of ideas than the Democratic party does. Clinton and Obama are essentially identical ideologically, although Obama is more liberal. Edwards is very similar to both. It is among the Republican candidates that you can see diversity – libertarianism, social conservatism, economic conservatism, social liberalism (relatively), economic liberalism, and so forth. It does not mean that the Republican party is splintering, it just means that there is a great diversity of ideas and beliefs within the Republican party.
Earlier I mentioned how the strong LDS population in Nevada helped Romney’s win. I don’t think that Mormons are block voting for Romney just because he is LDS – although there is certainly some of that going on. His political beliefs just coincide with a lot of other LDS church members’ beliefs. I’m not shy about criticizing Evangelicals for voting for Huckabee just because he is Evangelical. I’m also not shy about criticizing LDS members for voting for Romney just because he is LDS. I think you should vote based on political ideologies not religion. That is my biggest problem with so many Evangelical (and other people) voters; I don’t care as much about them voting for a certain person because of his or her religious beliefs. I care more about them voting against someone because of their religious beliefs. Women shouldn’t vote for Clinton just because she is a woman; African-Americans shouldn’t vote for Obama just because he is African-America. People shouldn’t vote against any of the candidates because of their skin color, gender, or any other characteristic like those. Vote based on political beliefs, not demographic characteristics.