Santorum Walks Because Money Talks

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen: Finally, former Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum has called it a day and suspended his Presidential campaign. This comes as no surprise as a win against Mitt Romney has been unthinkable for several weeks now given the discrepancy in funding and support from within the party. If you break down the amount of money spent in relation to the votes and delegates won in the Republican Presidential primary, Rick Santorum is by far and away the most effective candidate - a very serious problem for Romney given he probably won't be able to raise as much money as Obama will in the general.

The numbers are extremely interesting. As of last month, the Republican candidates spent the following (via the Huff Post):

I Want Your Money

MITT ROMNEY

Ad spending per vote: $12.70

Cost per delegate: $90,796

RICK SANTORUM

Ad spending per vote: $3.01

Cost per delegate: $28,944

NEWT GINGRICH

Ad spending per vote: $4.78

Cost per delegate: $76,774

RON PAUL

Ad spending per vote: $6.33

Cost per delegate: $129,275

Romney out spent Santorum 3:1 for each delegate, and 4:1 for each vote - a stunning ratio that underlines how weak a candidate he is.

Romney's strategy has been simple - outspend everyone and pander to the far Right as much as possible. It hasn't been easy as both Gingrich and Santorum surged at various points during the campaign, but the principle that money buys elections has remained true. While Gingrich and Paul still remain in the race, Romney is now an absolute sure bet for the nomination.

While I disagree with Santorum on virtually every policy issue imaginable, I did get the feeling that he was a genuine politician who believed what he was saying. And for this reason, I feel slightly sorry for him given his acquiescence to the most disingenuous candidate the American public has ever been subjected to. While Mitt Romney may not be a religious nut like Santorum, his beliefs are so malleable that it doesn't really make a difference. Both candidates would be a very serious disaster in the White House - Santorum because of his religious beliefs and militant conservatism, and Romney because he would roll over for the extreme interests in the Republican Party.

In some ways, had Santorum won, it would have reaffirmed the spirit of democracy in America. Sure, he would have made a terrible candidate, but it would prove that money doesn't have to make the major difference in winning campaigns. Sadly, it does, and it means the candidate most allied with the interests of big business almost always comes out on top. Romney won because corporate America believes he will be best for them. He has the most chance of beating Obama this year, and should he get in, he will do exactly as he is told. Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are too risky for business - not because they don't believe in the same nonsensical economic theories, but because they have shown independent thought and a willingness to actually be themselves. Corporations want a yes man, and Romney will say yes to pretty much anything.

Santorum fought tooth and nail to win the nomination, and too his credit, didn't compromise on his core beliefs. While it is probably a good thing he is out of mainstream politics, ironically, it isn't good for democracy.

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