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Rick Santorum is a Deceptively Strong Presidential Candidate

Updated on May 28, 2015

Rick Santorum is Running for President in 2016.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is running for president again in 2016 after coming in second during the 2012 Republican primaries.
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is running for president again in 2016 after coming in second during the 2012 Republican primaries. | Source

Rick Santorum: Ignored, Laughed At, Fought Against, Then Winning?

I won't be voting for Rick Santorum, because I am not a social conservative. I am backing Bernie Sanders. But in Santorum, the controversial former U.S. Senator (R-PA) and 2012 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, I see some of Sanders' positive attributes. Both men stand alone among the political pack for being able to gut it out 'til the end. Despite facing long odds, both men persevered. I quote Mahatma Gandhi:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

While I hope this quote applies to Sanders more than Santorum, the Republican punditry should not dismiss Santorum's newly-announced candidacy for president. Like with Sanders, the media has largely written off Santorum and focused, instead, on higher-profile candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. This trio of rookie U.S. Senators represents a younger GOP brand. Like Dr. Ben Carson, these three legislators excite the Republican base because they are different, innovative...at least, sort of.

But have they got staying power or glass chins?

A two-term U.S. Senator who exited after the 2006 election, which he lost, Santorum has experience. He came in second place to Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP primaries, which surprised just about everyone. He gutted it out despite lacking money or campaign polish - he made verbal gaffes but kept on trucking. Like his socialist counterpart on the left, he was determined to win, or at least finish, despite being outnumbered and outgunned.

Also like Sanders, and what might prove to be his trump card in '16, is Santorum's focus on blue-collar voters. He fights for the blue-collar working man, though from a conservative angle. He wants less government regulation, less immigration, and lower taxes. Coming from a blue-collar background himself, he has a distinct advantage over his elite brethren when it comes to championing the working man. Rand Paul is a doctor whose father, Ron Paul, ran for president multiple times. Ted Cruz went to an Ivy League university and has a wife who worked on Wall Street. Santorum's got the blue-collar street cred, and his political losses in 2006 and 2012, followed by tenacious resurgences, may endear him to the struggling masses.

As an added bonus, and an area where he actually bests Bernie Sanders, Santorum is a photogenic politician. He's young-looking at age 57, boasts a large and picturesque family, and still has a little political snap-and-sizzle in his speeches. While he won't win on the issues, he is more than a match for the Republicans currently running for president. They shouldn't count him out.

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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      As a Republican myself, he is not a serious candiate. He is increasingly out of touch with even the average GOPer. Granted, he appeals to the base of social/Christian conservatives; but to the rest of us, he is done. The debates on Marriage Equality and Abortion are over. Some in my party have not grasped that yet. And those issues are Santorum's main selling points. If he had some other leadership position such as Sec. of State or Defenses, he might be given more consideraiton.

      Also, when you can't win reelection in your home state, how can you be taken seriously as a Presidential contender? Great topic. It got me going....:). Voted up.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I don't think Santorum can be a break-through candidate this time around. Besides his penchant for making off-the-wall declarations (Obama is a snob for wanting everyone to go to college; “I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money"), he still has the problem of adequately financing a campaign. With a huge field of Republican candidates who have to divide available donations, and especially with Jeb Bush's reputed efficiency in that regard, how much opportunity will Santorum really have to get his message out? Unless he's able to come up with his own captive billionaire as some of his opponents have, I think the answer to that question is "not much."

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      While I like Santorum as a candidate, I was somewhat taken aback by his appeal to me as a potential supporter to donate PRIOR to his "decision" as to whether or not he would run. My feeling was "what if your decision is not to run, what will I have donated to?"

      Now he has decided, and I too can decide.

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