Florida is the state that makes or breaks a candidate. Since 1972, the winner of the Florida primary has become the party’s nominee. In 2012, the winner was Mitt Romney.
Romney won Tuesday’s race in a landslide, receiving 47 percent, with Newt Gingrich coming in second place with 32 percent. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul each received 13 and 7 percent, respectively. The results proved to be a major setback for Gingrich, coming off a landmark with in South Carolina last week, ironically a state that also shares the reputation of choosing the nominee. He skyrocketed in early Florida polls, as well.
What reversed Newt’s momentum? The insurmountable amount of negative campaign ads, which one could argue shot Gingrich in both feet. Meanwhile, Gingrich’s ads failed to return the favor. Last week, for example, a Gingrich ad called Romney the “the most anti-immigrant” candidate in the race. While Romney expectedly and effectively defended himself against the harsh attack, Marco Rubio, Florida’s senator and a Tea Party favorite,defended Romney, calling the ad “inaccurate and inflammatory.”
Newt’s attack on Romney astounded many. Not only was it harsh, but also incredibly vague. When questioned about the ad last Thursday by CNN debate moderator Wolf Blitzer, Gingrich responded that Romney desires to round up and deport illegal families.
While the ad may not seem like a big deal on its own, this incident is part of a larger issue. Before the primaries began, while still a marginal candidate, Gingrich ran on the notion that his was a “positive campaign” and the main objective was to defeat Barack Obama. However, the optimism disappeared as soon as he saw Romney as a threat, and Newt started berating him with characteristically left-wing attacks, from Romney’s record at Bain Capital to his apparent desire to mercilessly deport illegals. Newt’s latestrant was clearly to pander to Florida’s large Latino population, anda harbinger to the fact that he will say whatever it takes to win.He believed that the Hispanic vote would be awardedto the candidate who is lax and “compassionate” on illegal immigration. By painting Romney as the opposite, Gingrich hoped to find favor in the Latino community.
Rubio proves that Hispanics at large do not feel this way. The senator takes pride in the fact that his parents legally emigrated from Cuba and worked hard for their earnings, and that their son, who came from a poor, working-class Latino family, is now one of the most popular Republican politicians. His story personifies the American dream, not to mention the conservative message of individual liberty and prosperity at its best. The Hispanic community doesn’t stand for politicians who believe that tolerance of illegal immigration will win its vote.It confirmed that on Florida by choosing Romney over Gingrich, 54 to 28 percent.
The American public is growing tired of politicians doing whatever it takes to win, no matter the outcome of their actions. The country wants a president that cares more about the country than his own achievement. It needs leadership, pride, and integrity.