Candidates who spew a cloud of gloomy complaining and criticism are usually a real turn off to voters, except to those who want to join in the angry misery. And this is the conundrum for the current crop of GOP presidential aspirants. The base is addicted to outrage, needing to voraciously feed on a continual stream of infuriating grievance, no matter how nonsensical, to keep them involved. But the rest of the country, tired of governmental dysfunction, partisan flame wars, and an anemic economy, wants practical solutions and a vision of a hopeful, reachable future. The fear among Republican strategists, at least those still tied to reality, is that the champion of this feeding frenzy may well win the primaries but could doom himself in the general election.
Currently, the tediously sanctimonious Rick Santorum is building in momentum among the conservative fringe of the party. Were it not for the delusionally self-important Newt Gingrich siphoning off a big chunk of voters in every competition, Santorum would likely have won the all-important Ohio primary, as well as various other contests on Super Tuesday. This would have completely upended the trajectory of the race.
Even with Gingrich remaining on the ballot, however, Santorum continues to be a threat to Mitt Romney, if not in terms of the ultimate outcome, in forcing the continuation of a lengthy, costly, and damaging battle. Romney is being pushed further and further to the right, to the most extreme and belligerent positions possible, in order to compete in the primaries and ultimately close the deal.
Two of the next contests, on March 13, will take place on Southern turf, an area far more friendly to Gingrich than Romney or Santorum. At the moment, there is a three-way tie in the polls in Alabama, with Gingrich ahead in Mississippi. Indications are that Gingrich is likely to do well, but not well enough. The Sun, Venus, and Jupiter will be aspecting his Moon (25Sagittarius11) for this contest, but this configuration will also be activating his progressed Saturn which is in a long opposition to his Moon, making any victory bittersweet at best. On the other hand, Santorum looks like he will do quite well on March 13, with a slow-moving Mercury crossing his Venus (5Aries44), the Sun quincunx his Jupiter (23Libra58), and Jupiter sextile his Mars (10Pisces00). Romney’s aspects hardly register.
Moving further into March, we begin to see the end of Gingrich, despite his current protestations to the contrary. After March 21, it will be increasingly downhill and pointless for him to continue. Perhaps his billionaire slush fund will give out around that time.
Santorum seems likely to keep up a strong fight through April 28. The first half of April, with Uranus conjunct his Venus (5Aries44) is likely to be quite dramatic, and perhaps the peak of his popularity. April 24 through April 28 will also bring a brief burst of success with Jupiter conjunct his Sun (19Taurus31). By May, however, things will rapidly unravel for him. Saturn will oppose his Mercury (24Aries06) and conjunct his Jupiter (23Libra58). Nothing suggests he will come back into any real competition from then on, unless he is chosen as the vice presidential candidate, a possibility due to Uranus returning to his Venus in late September and October.
As for Romney, the worst is behind him now, until the campaign goes into full swing in late August and beyond. The Neptune square to his Ascendant (00Gemini43) has moved past exact, with its deleterious influence on the back burner until late August through mid-December. This configuration highlights Romney’s shifting stances on issues, his chameleon-like character, and his bumbling, clueless gaffes. The long and frustrating two-month siege of Saturn sesquiquadrate his Mercury (13Pisces55) is now also past, as of March 3.
Although Santorum may keep the pressure on through April, with Romney’s tertiary Sun square natal Pluto that month, consolidation of the nomination seems quite likely in May, as Santorum’s star begins to fade and a slow-moving Venus aspects Romney’s Sun and Venus for much of the month. The sweep of Saturn transits in Romney’s chart (quincunx Ascendant, semisquare Uranus, square Saturn, quincunx Node, sesquiquadrate Sun, square MC, square Venus, and square Pluto) from October 2012 through early March 2013, suggest a beleaguered and failed candidate during the height of election season and through the turn of the year.