As a Floridian now, I’m rather focused on the upcoming Senate race. The latest poll from Rasmussen now has former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in a tie with Governor Charlie Crist for the Republican nomination. Both are at 43%. Is this poll accurate? Some dispute it, but no one disputes that the gap is closing and that Crist’s numbers are quickly eroding.
If you haven’t been following this race, you might not know the significance of this poll’s result. Crist was considered a lock for this nomination—so much so that the National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately endorsed Crist back when he entered the contest. The movement toward Rubio and against Crist among grassroots Republicans in the state probably has the Republican establishment at least slightly disturbed.
There is a struggle going on within the Republican party. I don’t want to make too much of it—one could argue that the Democrats are having a tougher time with party unity at the moment. However, the future of the Republican brand could be determined in the next two election cycles. Will distrust of the federal government and disgust at the “get-along-with-everyone” Republicans lead to a new breed of candidates calling for a return to basic principles? Will that breed be able to make significant advances in the congressional elections next year?
If so, that could set the stage for someone from that segment of the party to take the helm of leadership in 2012. The presidential campaign that year could give us a clear choice: a principled Republican conservative vs. a doctrinaire Democratic liberal. One yearns for such a clear choice.
Personally, I favor a strong push for Biblical principles that will resonate with the general public: personal responsibility, government kept within its constitutional boundaries, low tax rates coupled with reduced spending, and morality that supports families, unborn children, and the aged.
Now, who will grab that mantle? Who will step forward and make those principles his or her own?
Let’s start with the congressional elections and go from there.