Will Democrats Help Santorum Win the Nomination?

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  • Santorum
    (Photo: REUTERS/John Gress)
    U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum arrives with his wife Karen at his Michigan primary night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Feb. 28, 2012.
By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post Reporter
February 29, 2012|1:23 pm

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum came close to beating rival Mitt Romney in Michigan Tuesday, thanks to a large contingent of Democrats who voted for him. Democrats are mobilizing to help Santorum, not because they believe he would be a good president, but because they believe he would be the weaker opponent to President Barack Obama.

Michigan has an open primary system, meaning that anyone can vote in either party's primary election regardless of their party affiliation. About nine percent of the voters in Michigan's Tuesday primary identified themselves as Democrats, and about 53 percent of them voted for Santorum, according to exit polls.

In the 2000 primary, John McCain won over George W. Bush due to a large number of crossover Democratic voters. McCain, though, was popular among Democrats. Santorum, who is generally considered more conservative than Romney, may have garnered some Democratic votes with his stance on supporting blue-collar manufacturing jobs. Democratic activists and strategists, though, led an effort to turn out votes for Santorum because they think it will harm the Republican Party.

Joe DiSano, who led one of those "strategic voting" efforts in Michigan, said Monday, "I think Santorum is completely radioactive and will bring an electoral disaster to the Republicans – he could deliver Obama a landslide. We need to focus on the one real challenger to Romney."

The liberal website Daily Kos is leading a national effort, called "Operation Hilarity," to support Santorum. Even if Santorum does not win the nomination, Daily Kos calculates that keeping the contest going would hurt Romney's chances to win the presidency.

Daily Kos is focusing on three of the 10 elections on March 6, known as "Super Tuesday," will have open contests in which Democrats can vote – North Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont. Daily Kos is urging its supporters to donate $5 for a Facebook ad campaign to turn out Democratic voters for Santorum in those contests.

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Santorum also sought to encourage Democrats to vote for him. His campaign used robo-calls to Democratic households Tuesday asking for their vote. Santorum, though, had previously derided open primaries and said that non-Republicans should not be helping to choose the Republican nominee.

"We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don't even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee," Santorum said on Jan. 29. "I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries."

Romney criticized the Santorum campaign's robo-calls, calling them "outrageous," "disgusting" and a "dirty trick." Romney, though, had previously defended his 1992 vote for Paul Tsongas by arguing that he engaged in strategic voting. He voted for Tsongas, not because he thought he would make a good president, but because he thought a Tsongas victory would hurt Democrats.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)
 

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