Rick Perry Heads to South Carolina, Has No Chance in the North


COMMENTARY | Rick Perry’s tweet, “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!,” should come as no surprise. Perry’s poor results in the Iowa Caucus, where he finished fifth, reflect his lack of appeal to the Northern States. Perry is a southerner, who cannot attract Northerners’ votes.

If the Republican Candidate was Ideologically Chosen

If the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee were selected based solely on ideology, Perry might win. His fiscal policy is firmly conservative. His religious views are Christian. As the governor of Texas, he has demonstrated the ability to effectively run a state, while being guided by these principles. All of this resonates well with many of the voters in the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary. Many Republicans, both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line, would welcome a candidate who holds these values.

Cultural Differences Between the North and the South

Although Northerners may agree with Perry’s politics, they will not vote him into office because he is a Southerner. Sure, both former President Bushes were Texas governors, but Perry appears to be even more Southern than they were. As a Native New Yorker who moved to Texas two years ago, “more Southern” is heard as, “less educated, dumber and unrefined.”

Despite the unfairness of Northerner’s prejudices against Southerners, any presidential nominee must deal with them. Perry fails at that; he fulfills each one of them. His fumblings make former President Bush’s mumblings look benign. In his unscripted speech at St. Anselm in New Hampshire where he mixed up the voting and drinking ages, Perry demonstrated his ignorance. He gave that speech because someone had forgotten the scripted one. The President of the United States cannot be relaxed and haphazard. He must be organized, dignified and refined. These failures are only the beginning of Perry’s problems in Northern States.

In addition to these blunders in New Hampshire, Rick Perry is a Christian, and an evangelical one at that. For many Republican voters, having a Christian candidate is important. However, for Northern voters, such as those who will participate in the New Hampshire Primary, being an outspoken, evangelical Christian is unacceptable. It is culturally insensitive in Northern States that have diverse populations, such as New York City and Boston. Many of the people voting in New Hampshire’s primary will be happy with a Christian president, but not one who has prayer meetings for the government. The North is secular, and voters want it left that way.

Rick Perry is a Southerner

In light of the cultural differences between Rick Perry and any potential northern supporters, Perry must focus on the South. If he is chosen as the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee, then his Southern habits will stand in stark contrast to President Obama’s northern mannerisms. The only way Rick Perry can win the 2012 elections is if the Southern States carry him into office. His hope never was in the Iowa Caucus, and it is not in the New Hampshire Primary. If Perry’s going to run for President, he needs South Carolina, the Palmetto State.

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