The Spectacle Blog

Santorum Must Make Common Cause with Ron Paul Supporters

By on 4.2.12 | 10:02AM

Because my column this morning already was so ridiculously long, I left out a point I wanted to make. But here's a key consideration: If Rick Santorum hopes to win his challenges to the Arizona and Florida delegations, and hopes to win a convention battle on the second or later ballot, it is a near-imperative for him to start doing more to appeal to people who back Ron Paul. There probably will be well over 100 delegates at the convention who are committed on the first ballot to Paul; they will be free agents -- THE key free agents -- after the first ballot. And their numbers, if they shift heavily to Romney, could put Romney over the top. If they shift largely to Santorum, they could go a long way toward making Santorum the winner.

Right now, Santorum has spent more time criticizing Ron Paul's foreign policy than he has spent emphasizing the parts of his own economic plans that dovetail nicely with Paul's positions. Santorum is no libertarian on many "social issues" (such as legalizing drugs), but he supports reforms of the Federal Reserve; he supports free-market economics to a greater extent than Romney does; and he is far closer to Paul than Romney appears to be on certain civil liberties. But Santorum hasn't done enough to make this clear. Unless he does, on these and a number of other issues, the Paul delegates may not swing his way.

You can't build a coalition without reaching out. Santorum's campaign needs to find ways to make common cause.

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