I voted for Newt Gingrich the other day.
There. I said it. It makes me feel soiled to admit it, but its true.
You see, the reason you Aussies are already hearing about the American presidential election, is that the parties here don't pick a new leader by staging a back-room rebellion a la Gillard (and/or Rudd?) Instead we have primaries, where only the people registered for a given party get to vote*, and they vote for who they want their presidential candidate to be in the main election. I was registered Democrat, so in the primaries I got to choose whether to vote for Obama or... not. Everyone knows the Democrat in November's election is going to be Obama, so no one else serious is even bothering to run. Well thats a bit dull, isn't it?
So with a grimace of distaste, I re-registered as a Republican, so I can help choose who the Republican candidate in the next election will be. The trick is to find the candidate least likely to beat Obama - who I will actually vote for in November - but who is still a credible contender for the Republican nomination, so I'm not throwing my vote away. That last bit is kind of hard, because the only thing Republicans have managed to consistently agree on for two weeks running out of the last 6 months has been that they don't want Romney, and Romney is the Republican who - until recently, at least - has shown as the most likely Republican to beat Obama. RealClearPolitics has been handy for this - that page collects all the polls from the last month or so, comparing each candidate as if they were running one-on-one against Obama, and this one shows whos likely to win the Republican nomination this week. Gingriches chances at the nomination are currently low compared to Santorum, but some of the meta-analysis out there shows that the Brown Sticky One is artificially inflated at the moment by his recent - and only - victories, and Gingrich might well come back. Honestly, I've done more research on these nutjobs than I have on almost any candidate I've actually cared about in years.
jerk - vs each other - vs Obama Santorum - 33.7 - Obama +6.4 Romney - 28.4 - Obama +5.7 Gingrich - 14.4 - Obama +13.7 Paul - 12.3 - Obama +8.3
Of the folks still in it, Paul has no chance of actually winning the nomination, Santorum polls too well against Obama, so Gingrich it is. (Plus Santorum's a disturbing freakweasel, instead of just a power-mad self-centered megalomaniac like Gingrich, so I couldn't bear the idea of voting for him even out of sabotage...)
And that is how I came to cast a vote for Newt Gingrich (in advance, by mail) in next week's primary. Once we get past the primary, I can re-register Democrat, and shower extensively. Thank you for your patience; I now return you to your regularly scheduled Labour infighting...
*Except where it doesn't work that way, because there are actually entirely different rules for every one of the 50 states. But thats the gist of it, most places.