Last night, Romney won the Arizona primary and crawled over the finish line first in Michigan. The most remarkable thing in an otherwise unimpressive achievement was the damage it inflicted on Romney's already struggling candidacy. The man who can't excite his party's base is now actively turning off independents and moderates with his desperate run to the right and barrage of negative attacks. It would make him a very battered general election nominee.
Romney's narrow win in Michigan must've stung. After all, Romney grew up there, his father was a popular governor, and Mitt himself won the state four years ago by nearly 10 points. But this time around, Romney showed his true colors to the middle class and autoworkers, reinforcing that he would have "let Detroit go bankrupt" with no regard for the millions of jobs associated with the auto industry. He also laid out an economic plan to cut taxes for corporations, millionaires, and billionaires—at the expense of our deficit and programs that matter to the middle class.
In Arizona, Romney confirmed that on immigration, he would be the most extreme nominee. He called Arizona's divisive, extreme anti-immigrant law "a model" for the nation—the same law that lets law enforcement randomly check documents and detain people without cause. He promised to veto the DREAM Act, which he believes is a handout. And he embraced the inhumane policy of encouraging "self-deportation," separating families that have been a part of their community for a generation. His rhetoric—and his proud acceptance of endorsements from people like Gov. Jan Brewer—will alienate the Hispanic voters he would need to win in November.
It's no surprise, then, that nearly 40 percent of Republican voters can't say they'll definitely vote for the Republican nominee in November, and nearly 40 percent have strong reservations about their candidate. Romney's baggage is heavy, ample, and would weigh him down in the fall.
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