As young professionals, my peers and I tend to get a lot of career advice. We are encouraged to be the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave. We are instructed to dress not simply for the job we have but the job we want. While embarking on the search, we are advised to run towards a job and not run away from one. Although the former tidbits of advice apply to excelling in the workplace, it is hard to not apply the latter to the current presidential race.
In the last six months, Americans have watched former Massachusetts' Gov. Mitt Romney struggle to prove his authenticity and the simultaneous rise and fall of several Republican contenders. Emerging as the self-proclaimed leaders of the Tea Party, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry enjoyed quick surges of popularity but their momentum waned with each slip of the tongue. Rep. Ron Paul is still in the race but he cannot seem to shake the "anti-establishment" label. In Iowa, Sen. Rick Santorum reminded us (and Mitt Romney) that he should not be dismissed; yet his strong performance in Monday's debate was hailed as a victory for Romney and not Santorum himself. Although former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's victory in South Carolina and the subsequent backing of outspoken Tea Partiers demonstrated that Republicans are not quite ready to relinquish the candidacy to Romney, he continues to trail in national polls.
What is the common factor which has both plagued the frontrunners' campaigns and forced these other candidates out of the race? The answer lies in the fear held by Republicans nationwide that these candidates cannot beat President Barack Obama in the general election. Yes, Gingrich can claim the role as the new, true leader of the populist conservative movement. Yes, Mitt Romney can claim the role as the businessman who will lower unemployment rates and incentivize American corporations. However, both candidates are riddled with unflattering political and personal track records, which depict neither candidate as a sound conservative nor in touch with the common family. Unfortunately, the rhetoric heard in the Primary debates and on the House floor demonstrates that many Americans would rather take a chance on any Republican candidate as long as it means that the current POTUS will be a one-term president. Rather than run from the last four years and drag a Republican candidate to the finish line, let's vote for what is best for the country and not the party.