The 2012 Presidential election is fast approaching and with a string of momentous debates, it could leave voters confused. As of now, there are two front-runners for the Republican Party- Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. These candidates have been in heated competition since the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, which resulted in Rick Santorum winning, Michelle Bauchmann dropping out of the race, and Romney and Gingrich coming in second and fourth place.
Because of all the turmoil coming with this year’s race, it is important for voters to do their research on the candidates before they hit the polls in November and choose a representative that shares most of their beliefs on core issues such as abortion, immigration, gay marriage, the economy, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who is number one in the polls, declares himself a Pro-Life candidate, preferring people to turn to adoption instead of abortion. He believes that Planned Parenthood should be defunded so that Americans’ tax money could go to other, more needed facilities.
Gingrich believes that he can balance the nation’s budget in five years, having experience on a team that successfully produced surplus budgets. He plans to do this by eliminating the National Labor Relations Board, replacing the EPA, limiting unemployment benefits to a maximum of four weeks and repealing ObamaCare. He also states that he does not believe the immigration of 11 million Mexicans has affected the economy negatively, therefore he is pro-immigration. He does not want to waste money deporting such a mass of people back to their country of origin and is up for granting amnesty to all of those who are living in the US illegally.
Although Gingrich is accepting of illegal immigration, he opposes domestic partnerships and wishes to add a Constitutional amendment to protect the traditional family, because he believes homosexuality is a sin and that homosexual couples should not be allowed to adopt children. Gingrich has just as much opposition towards ending the war in Iraq as he does to gay marriage. He claims that if the US sets a deadline for troop withdrawal, that it will be a “recipe for defeat” and “encourage terrorists to follow us home”. He thinks the current policy in Iraq is a mess and that the government should let Iraqis win their own civil wars.
Former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, is another Pro-Life candidate, though initially, he believed in the right for a woman to decide what to do with her body. He still lays out exceptions in his new position, however, claiming that “abortion is the wrong choice, except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.” He does not believe that the government should have jurisdiction over the issue of abortion because it is not laid out in the Constitution. According to him, it should be up to the individual whether or not they partake in an abortion, though he is extremely against it.
Romney’s stance on America’s economic situation has a lot to do with tax cuts, believing in the Reaganomics system of lowering taxes to grow the economy. He plans to implement ten major actions on the first day of his presidency, involving the reduction of corporate income taxes, opening free trade with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and eliminating all Obama-era regulations in big agencies. Romney, though a supporter of immigration, wants illegal immigration to end. He credits many feats of America to immigrants, and praises them for coming to the country via legal processing.
As for his view on the war in Iraq, Romney supports President Bush’s policy, but believes the war since then has been mismanaged. He is calling for an increase of troops, rather than withdrawal because keeping the US in Iraq is “the best option for minimizing casualties and maintaining a democratic government there.”
Former US Senator, Rick Santorum (PA), is catching up in this presidential race. He is quite possibly the most adamant candidate when it comes to the issue of abortion and the preservation of life, advocating criminal charges against any doctor who performs an abortion.
Santorum was not reported to have an official plan or specific stance on the economy, but he is a strong advocate for former President Bush’s US-Mexico border fence, claiming that “the influx of foreign workers is damaging to the nation, both on the economic and social front”. He supports a restricted Guest Worker program that implements strict limitations of Social Security on the workers that have applied. When it comes to Santorum’s position of the war in Iraq, he makes an interesting parallel between the current situation and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. You Know what? I want to keep it in Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”
For now, Newt Gingrich is ahead in the polls by 32 percent, six percent above Romney, while Santorum is at a slowly increasing13 percent, according to Gallup. He has recently won the South Carolina primary and beat Romney is the two debates that followed. Several changes are bound to happen in the polls in the coming weeks, as caucuses resume and debates escalate. In February alone, there will be two more caucuses held in Nevada and Colorado, three debates, and three primaries taking place in Arizona, South Carolina, and Michigan.