Bob Vander Plaats

The 2012 “invisible primary” is looking likely to end just how and where it began: with Republican ideologues anxiously looking to Iowa for signs of an electable “true conservative” alternative to Mitt Romney. Depending on whom you ask, they have found no such candidate, or have found too many of them. In either case, despite their fevered hopes the First-in-the-Nation Caucus is not likely to play its intended role as an all-important arbiter where ideological squishes are disciplined or destroyed and the faithful find their champion.

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This weekend’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum” at a Des Moines megachurch probably seemed like a great idea to Iowa social conservatives when it was first developed. You’d have the presidential candidates arrayed around a “Thanksgiving table,” obediently waiting for a symbolic serving of activist support. In the pews would be thousands of stolid Iowans of the sort most likely to show up at the January 3 caucuses. Wielding the microphone would be focus-group king Frank Luntz, probing the worldviews of the candidates to determine their fidelity to a teavangelical, big-God, small-government creed.

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I Heart Huckabee

For Mike Huckabee, the decision of whether to run for president has got to be excruciating. On the one hand, he’s done quite well in both primary and general election polls without lifting a finger. He has a very clear path to the nomination based on his demonstrated strengths with socially conservative voters in 2008. And the GOP has moved in his ideological direction since then, making his “insurgent” persona far more of an asset than a liability.

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How will the Republican primary election of 2012 unfold? It's impossible to predict the exact result, but now that the midterms are over, we are in a position to make some educated guesses.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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All across the country, Republicans are fantasizing about a gigantic electoral tide that will sweep out deeply entrenched Democratic incumbents this November. In their telling, this deep-red surge will be so forceful as to dislodge even legislators who don’t look vulnerable now, securing GOP control of both houses of Congress. But could this scenario really come to pass? That will depend, in part, on what type of Republican Party the Democrats are running against in the fall. Hence the importance of this year's Republican civil war.

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