a contemplative approach to politics

The Virginia Plan

Posted by blindspotpolitics on December 24, 2011

It seems that both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry will not be appearing on the Virginia Primary ballot. Both candidates failed to obtain the necessary 10,000 signatures that the state requires. Despite this being startling, especially in regards to Gingrich who is a serious GOP nominee contender, this move by the Virginia GOP tells a lot about the state of the Perry and Gingrich campaigns. Furthermore, the move could potentially lead to some pretty dangerous consequences for the eventual GOP nominee, no matter who it is.

Perry and Gingrich are not very happy at the Virginia GOP right now, to say the least. Perry is calling for a recount of his signatures, claiming that there is no way he could have fallen short of the number. Gingrich, however, is taking a more extreme stance. Instead of simply calling for a recount, Gingrich is claiming that because he doesn’t appear on the ballot the primary system in Virginia must be broken.

Perry’s reaction, although more reasoned and logical, smells of weakness, something that is not good to have in a GOP race. Perhaps Perry is already admitting defeat, at least in this contest. His reaction is the obvious one; recount the votes! But it’s timid and something that few would expect from a campaign that is seriously struggling. Gingrich’s reaction, however, is over the top. Similar to his recent attacks of the courts, Gingrich is once again attacking systems. He’s attacking how our government functions and the apparent unfairness that results from it. Whether or not he is correct, he’s clearly pandering to the Tea Party voters on top of simply trying to get on the ballot like Perry.

The fact that neither of these guys, who have both led the GOP nominee contest this year, got on the ballot in Virginia says a lot more about the state of their campaigns than it does about their appeal to voters. The contrast to Romney and Paul is striking: Romney has essentially been campaigning for five years and thus has created a massive infrastructure, while Paul has focused on gaining grass roots support even among non-Republicans. Apparently, neither Perry nor Gingrich have either of these advantages. The lack of the latter could prove to be disastrous. People in the field are a necessary part of modern campaigns, whether collecting signatures, handing out literature, or hosting rallies. The lack of this aspect in these two candidates campaigns is concerning. Why have neither of them created these systems of support? We’ll see throughout the rest of the campaign, but this lack of boots on the ground in Virginia could be a sign of things to come for the two presidential contenders.

What makes this news embarrassing for Gingrich is that he’s from Virginia. 10,000 signatures really isn’t that much. In California, potential proposition measures must have signatures from 5% of those who voted in the last election for Governor, leading to required numbers upwards of 400,000. Granted, California is a bigger state and the situation is very different but it does provide a sense of scale. This whole debacle just leads to the question, how serious are these two candidates?


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