Welfare Bums and Drug Smugglers.

By: Ben Douglas

[I]f you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel.

 -Milton Friedman[1]

A core aspect of a sound methodology is that it seeks to develop an understanding of the nature of a problem before attempting to solve it. If a doctor does not first diagnose a disease, he can only treat the symptoms. All the while, the disease itself eats away at the patient, growing ever-larger and more unbearable. Most modern policymakers, and even many economists, are like the doctor who treats only the symptoms while ignoring the underlying disease. In order to avoid this fatal mistake, we must first analyze the nature and cause of the problems at hand. Quite often once this is accomplished, a solution will present itself.

A common argument levied against immigration, particularly the illegal variety, is that it breeds two devious classes of people: welfare bums and drug traffickers. Since we are examining immigration, the first thing we must do is determine if these problems are inherent to immigration or whether they are the result of other, external factors.

Let us deal first with the immigrant welfare bum—broadly defined here as someone who immigrates to a nation in order to leach off of its welfare, education and other publicly funded services at the expense of taxpayers without himself paying taxes. Under a policy of free immigration—that is, in the absence of government-imposed barriers to the free movement of goods, services, and capital (including the human variety) across borders—how would the problem of the welfare bum be dealt with?

First of all, free immigration does not mean that Medicaid, social security, government schooling, etc. should be awarded to immigrants. These constitute positive rights, or grants of privilege, and thus conflict with negative rights, or universal prohibitions on certain behaviors, such as rape and theft. Like all government programs granting positive rights, these programs subsist off of funds expropriated from the populace. In order to grant positive rights, the state must infringe upon negative rights and thus debase the meaning of rights altogether into an abstraction determined and granted by the state. This is the playground of tyrants.

Having addressed the illegitimacy of welfare, it should be noted that the immigrant welfare bum does indeed pose a grave problem—for the welfare state! Putting up barriers to immigration in response to a flood of immigrants is an economically detrimental response what is fundamentally a problem of incentives. The argument that immigrants are immigrating in order to take advantage of welfare does not attack the concept of free immigration. On the contrary, it is a direct assault upon the sustainability and morality of the welfare state.

Having identified this particular problem as clearly residing with welfare (not immigration), the solution clear: end all subsidies—here defined as government grants of funds or privilege—to immigrants. Subsidizing something will create more of it. Ending all subsidies to immigrants will remove the incentives for the lazy and incompetent—that is, for the welfare bums—to immigrate. Ideally, subsidies would be abolished for everyone, native and foreigner alike, but unfortunately it is politically unfeasible to stop funding programs that natural-born citizens have been paying into their whole lives (and thus justly feel entitled to). The least that can be done is to prevent those who have not cashed in from cashing out. Moreover, such a practice would limit immigration and should, therefore, mitigate the concerns of anti-immigration conservatives and nativists.

Having examined the evils of the welfare state, let us turn to the correlation between immigration and crime. Specifically, we will consider the root cause of drug-related crime along the southern border. Is immigration inherently conducive to criminal activity (particularly violence) or is it taking the blame for bad policy in other areas?

Attempting to fight a war on supply is futile for two reasons. First, the demand for drugs is inelastic[2]. When a government tells its citizenry that it will imprison them for admitting to drug usage, users will understandably go about “getting high” in secrecy rather than admitting to a problem and seeking treatment. The drug problem is one of demand and must be treated as such. Caging human beings for consuming this or that substance listed as “controlled” under this or that statute is not only counter-productive in the sense that it leads to less treatment and more drug-related social problems, but also morally dubious because it results in the culprits of “victimless crimes” being imprisoned.

The second aspect of the futility of US drug policy results from the nature of a war on supply itself. When the War on Drugs is “succeeding,” supply goes down. When supply goes down, prices go up, thereby incentivizing more producers to enter the market, bringing the supply back up and prices back down. This is a war that cannot be won. The law of supply and demand, unlike the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, cannot be broken. Not even the federal government is as powerful as economic law.

Prohibition also creates the violence associated with drug production by driving the market underground and forcing producers (presently consisting of armed gangs) to utilize violence to capture market share rather than peaceful free-market practices that aim at pleasing consumers. Mexican criminals smuggling drugs into the US owe their lucrative professions to the US federal government. In the absence of prohibition, drug cartels would be out competed by legitimate companies dependent on consumer support for business (assuming they were not heavily regulated by the government). Presently, drug cartels are dependent on their ability to effectively utilize violence and subvert the law for business. This state of affairs is due solely to prohibition not to the nature of the substance being prohibited.

As a thought experiment, imagine Mexican alcohol gangs engaging in widespread criminal activity on the southern border. Is not the very notion preposterous? Alcohol is legal to produce, possess, and consume. As such, the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages resides overwhelmingly with semi-legitimate corporations that are dependent mostly on consumer favor to stay in business. One does not hear news reports of ongoing shootings and kidnappings between employees of Budweiser and Heineken. Such notions are laughable precisely because alcohol is not prohibited.

A brief digression is warranted here. The presence of modifiers in this paragraph such as “overwhelmingly,” “semi,” and “mostly” is due to the presence of government intervention in the industry. While there does exist a small black market for alcohol despite its legalized status, this is solely as a result of the heavy taxes and regulations imposed upon producers and consumers of the substance. Similarly, government meddling into this industry has driven out some elements of consumer sovereignty and made alcohol producers somewhat dependent upon government favor and protection to stay in business. Such is the nature of the “mixed economy.”

Dependency upon violent gangs for business, be they private or public, would be nonexistent in the unhampered marketplace where consumers are sovereign and peaceful exchange is the rule. The aforementioned modifiers could all be replaced with the term “completely” without reservation under such a state of affairs. Alas, the mixed economy preserves violence and threats of violence as valid business practices provided that they are performed through the intermediary of the state. Regardless, the tempering in violence that occurs as a result of legalizing an industry is irrefutable and infinitely preferable to prohibition.

But let us return to the alcohol industry. It was not always the case that this industry was peaceful. During the era of alcohol prohibition, the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol resided necessarily with criminals. Murder rates rose dramatically during this period.[3] Then there was the danger of alcohol poisoning. Prohibition made people sick—the bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins were not conducive to clean and pure alcohol. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities.

The notion of such problems seems ludicrous today in the beer or wine industries.  The manufacturer of such products—or any other ingestible product for that matter—would quickly lose the trust and therefore the patronage of consumers if its product was unsafe. Yet all of these prohibition-era issues are realities of life in much of the United States and especially along the southern border, only the substance in question is no longer alcohol but a variety of drugs currently controlled by the US federal government. Does the problem then reside with the free market—that is to say, with a lack of sufficient regulation of the movement of people and products along the border?

By no means! The problem resides with governmental planning schemes that shield people from the natural filtering mechanism of the unhampered market which peacefully weeds out firms unfit to satisfy consumers. Of all the methods governments utilize to intervene into the market, few are more harmful than outright prohibition. This was true for alcohol prohibition, and it holds true for drug prohibition. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 has brought back all the familiar problems of the Volstead Act of 1919—overdosing on the part of users, unclean and impure product, and organized crime to name but a few.

I will leave the reader with one final point to consider regarding the war on drugs. Nowhere have I disputed the claim that any illegal drug (or alcohol, for that matter) is fundamentally “bad” from either a moral or healthful perspective. My arguments have been grounded in the positive science of economics, not the normative disciplines of ethics or law. Even granting the drug warrior that all currently illegal drugs are pure evil and that to consume any of them consummates a grave sin of the highest order, the solution is still to at least decriminalize them since this policy has been demonstrated both empirically[4] and rationally to lower usage and its associated social ills. It thus holds the high ground on matters of morality and pragmatic utilitarianism, leaving no conceivable rationale not to decriminalize.

Thus we can see that the problems of the welfare bum and the criminal gang lie not with the practice of immigration itself, which is beneficial economically to the nation as a whole, but rather with the presence of coercively-funded government programs and prohibitions that attract the worst sort of people. Eliminating welfare, free government schooling, free medical care, etc. for the immigrant population would eliminate all incentives for welfare-bums to come to the United States without the need to impose constraints on those who would come here to work. Similarly, legalizing controlled substances would lift the industry out of the black market and drive violent drug cartels out of business. The solution is to allow more freedom, not less.

[1] Friedman, “Friedman & Szasz On Liberty and Drugs,” America’s Drug Forum

(Interview), 1991, http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/misc/friedm1.htm.

[2] I shall not make the case for the inelasticity of demand for drugs here. For this argument, see Cussen and Block, “Legalize Drugs Now!: An Analysis of the Benefit of Legalized Drugs,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 59, no. 3 (July, 2000): 525-36, http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/legalize_drugs_now.pdf, p. 534.

[3] Thornton, “Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure” (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, July 17, 1991) Policy Analysis no. 157 http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=981&full=1, fig. 4.

[4] For information on the success of decriminalization in Portugal and other European countries, see Greenwald, “Drug Decriminalization in Portugal” (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2009) http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf.


Point/Counterpoint: The Abortion Debate

In the past few months there has been a huge debate in the United States over contraception, abortion, and women’s rights. Recently, we conducted interviews with two organizations that have some stake in the game, Planned Parenthood and Florida Right To Life (FRTL). The answers given by these two organizations show the stark differences between liberals and conservatives over these issues.

First, Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health care services. Recently, we interviewed Staci Fox, the President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Florida. Next, Florida Right To Life is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which is dedicated to protecting life through legislation and education. We recently interviewed them as well.

We asked Planned Parenthood to explain why a woman has the right to contraception, including the Plan-B pill which is an abortion pill. Ms. Fox said that contraception methods, including abortions, are a woman’s right because it is her body. She went further to say that because it was a basic right of all women to have abortions; that the procedure or any other contraception method should be paid for by taxpayers. However, when asked if any woman should be able to have an abortion for any reason, including if a woman just simply does not want the child, they refused to answer.

We asked Florida Right To Life to respond to the argument that a woman has the right to an abortion because it is her body. FRTL said that not all things done with a person’s body are right, nor should be legally protected. They went to further to say that “Too often the “right to control my life” becomes the right to hurt and oppress others for their own advantage.” In a different question, FRTL said that there should be no discrimination under the law against entire classes of living humans, and that equal protection under the law should be given to every human in this nation. It should be noted that FRTL believes that human life begins at conception, which is why protection should be given to those human lives.

While Planned Parenthood is entitled to their opinion that a woman has the right to an abortion, they are ignoring the fact that murder is illegal, and no one has the right to break the law, not even a woman. We agree with FRTL that life begins at conception and that the real issue is protecting life and those humans who cannot defend themselves such as humans in the womb, deserve legal protection. That is what this debate is really about, life. The women’s right argument is an argument used by the left to appeal to emotion, not fact.

Legislature Gives FSU Power to Set Tuition Rates, Require Extra Classes for Incoming Students.

By: Jerry Hosey

Earlier this week, the Florida Legislature voted on a bill that would allow Florida State University and University of Florida to set their own tuition rates. The bill would allow the two schools to potentially raise tuition rates higher than the normal 15% cap which is currently in place. Also in the bill is the power to set different tuition rates for different majors, potentially resulting in STEM programs being charged higher tuition than other programs at the schools. The bill is now on its way to Governor Rick Scott’s desk where he can either sign the bill into law or veto the bill. The governor has said he does not want tuition to go up this year, but he will study the bill closely.

Representative Bill Proctor (R) says, “This legislation will enable Florida universities to break into the top ranks of research universities in our country, which will enable our schools to attract the best talent from around the world.”

There is something else in the bill that will affect students. The bill will allow FSU and UF to require extra classes for incoming freshmen, and those students could not use credit from Advanced Placement courses in high school to satisfy the requirement. The legislature also cut Bright Future awards by $1 per credit hour.

Five Vital Facts About Obama’s Contraception Compromise

By: James D. Agresti

The following article is from justfactsdaily.com and is used with permission. It was published originally on February 13, 2012.

After the president’s Friday press conference regarding his contraception mandate, a number of major media outlets ran headlines such as, “Obama Retreats on Contraception” (Wall Street Journal), “Obama Backs off on Birth Control Controversy” (Associated Press), and “To Allay Outcry, Obama Eases Birth Control Rule” (Real Clear Politics).

In contrast, many observers, such as NJ Congressman Chris Smith, wrote that this “so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else.” Similarly, the Los Angeles Times published a house editorial accusing Obama of “relying on magical thinking in the hope of making the political firestorm disappear.”

So, what are the facts?

First, the Affordable Care Act, which provides the legal basis for this mandate, does not confer authority to impose such a mandate on employers. The section of Obamacare mandating coverage for preventive health services only applies to a “group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage.” It does not apply to employers in general (read the text here).

Thus, when the president stated in his press conference that religious employers “won’t have to pay for or provide contraceptive services,” but their “insurance” will, this is no different than the original mandate. It was already the case that the insurers, not the employers, would have to provide copayment-free contraceptive services.

Nevertheless, when a government requires insurers to provide a certain benefit, all of the insured are forced to pay for it through their insurance premiums. Obama obliquely acknowledged this in his press conference when he stated that “no religious institution will have to provide these services directly.”

Second, some religious employers are self-insured and thus directly provide health coverage to their employees instead of purchasing such plans from an insurance company. The White Housefact sheet does not address this scenario and nor did the president during his press conference, at which he refused to take questions. If the employer and the insurer are effectively the same entity, Obama’s assertion that the insurer must pay, but the employer doesn’t have to pay cannot be true.

Third, although most major media reporting of this issue does not mention the word “abortion,” the issue is involved here. The morning-after pill, which is covered by this mandate, will sometimes cause what many medical professionals consider to be an abortion. The specifics are laid out in this article from Just Facts.

Fourth, regarding objectors, the president and the media have almost exclusively focused upon religious institutions, but individuals and families who purchase health insurance will also be forced to pay for services that they find objectionable. During his press conference, the president said, “I cherish” the “principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that has been enshrined in our Constitution.” The Constitution, however, enshrines this right for all individuals, not just for religious institutions.

Fifth, at the outset of his press conference, Obama stated:

As part of the healthcare reform law that I signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventative healthcare at no cost. That means free check-ups, free mammograms, immunizations and other basic services.

We fought for this because it saves lives and because it saves money for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody. And that’s because it’s a lot cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.

This assertion about preventative care saving money is largely untrue. Repeated studies have shown that that preventative care increases overall healthcare costs. As explained by the Congressional Budget Office:

Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.

That result may seem counterintuitive. For example, many observers point to cases in which a simple medical test, if given early enough, can reveal a condition that is treatable at a fraction of the cost of treating that same illness after it has progressed. In such cases, an ounce of prevention improves health and reduces spending—for that individual. But when analyzing the effects of preventive care on total spending for health care, it is important to recognize that doctors do not know beforehand which patients are going to develop costly illnesses.

To avert one case of acute illness, it is usually necessary to provide preventive care to many patients, most of whom would not have suffered that illness anyway. … Judging the overall effect on medical spending requires analysts to calculate not just the savings from the relatively few individuals who would avoid more expensive treatment later, but also the costs for the many who would make greater use of preventive care.

With specific regard to the costs of contraception services, the White House fact sheet states:

Covering contraception is cost neutral since it saves money by keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services. For example, there was no increase in premiums when contraception was added to the Federal Employees Health Benefit System and required of non-religious employers in Hawaii. One study found that covering contraception saved employees $97 per year, per employee.

These examples do not provide a valid comparison for the president’s mandate, which forces insurers to provide such services without any copayments. A rational comparison would contrast the cost of the status quo (individuals purchase contraceptives on their own or via copays) with the cost of individuals receiving contraceptives at no direct cost to them.

A primary driver of escalating U.S. healthcare spending has been the pronounced rise of third-party payments, wherein individuals do not directly bear the costs of their healthcare. Between 1960 and 2009, the portion of healthcare expenses paid directly by consumers decreased from 48% to 12%, and a major study has shown that when people don’t directly pay for their healthcare, most will tend to spend more but obtain no appreciable positive effect on their health.

Free Speech Zones Violate Student’s First Amendment Rights.

By: Jerry Hosey

When a student walks across Landis Green on any given day, they may see a variety of displays or groups demonstrating for a specific cause. You rarely see these groups demonstrating on other parts of campus and there is a reason. Landis Green is a designated free speech zone at Florida State University. A free speech zone, how can that be? Isn’t there freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution? Yes there is which is why the concept of a free speech zone is very troubling.

What is a free speech zone? A free speech zone is an area designated where anyone is allowed to say what they want, demonstrate what they want to demonstrate, and get their point across. That is fine, but that means that there is an area that has been designated not a free speech zone, and that is not fine. The First Amendment clearly gives us the right to free speech, and creating an area where free speech is not allowed is clearly in violation of that. If this campus were a private university, then they may be able to have a free speech zone. However, Florida State University is not a private university, it is a university run by the state government. Government suppression of free speech is a violation of the First Amendment. Is there an example of the university enforcing free speech zones on its students? Yes there is. When the controversial figure William Ayers spoke at FSU a couple years ago, a group of students wanted to protest him speaking. They were forced to relocate from where the event was taking place to a free speech zone where no one could even see them.

College Republican Sign Wars on Landis Green

There are examples, however, of free speech zones being struck down at public colleges and universities. One example of this is Texas Tech University. Officials at Texas Tech had designated a free speech zone, a single gazebo on campus. In 2003, a student there sued Texas Tech University for violating his First Amendment rights. The student wanted to make a speech and hand out fliers for a topic he felt was important, but wanted to do it in an area other than the lone gazebo. When he filed a request to use the area, he was denied because the university said his event was “an expression a personal belief.” In September 2004, the free speech zone was struck down in “Roberts vs. Haragan,” a case heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Judge Sam R. Cummings ruled that the free speech codes at Texas Tech were unconstitutional. According to an article written by FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which helped with the case, Judge Cummings also determined “that a university policy requiring students to get prior permission before engaging in even casual free expression was not sufficiently “narrowly tailored” to be enforced against students at this public university.” The judge forced Texas Tech to open up more areas for free speech.

San Francisco State University is part of the California State University System. In 2007, they were sued by FIRE and the Alliance Defense Fund for a situation involving SFSU and their College Republican group on that campus. An article on the FIRE website says that there was a policy at SFSU banning any conduct that was “inconsistent with SF State goals, principles, and policies.” Later in 2007, a judge issued an injunction prohibiting “SFSU and the California State University System as a whole from enforcing… policies challenged in the lawsuit. In 2008, SFSU settled the case out of court, agreeing to modify its free speech policies and paying all court costs.

These are just two examples of free speech zones and codes being struck down by the courts. Because free speech zones still exist at Florida State University, we think it important that officials at Florida State University also review their policies toward free speech, and free speech zones in particular. Free speech zones are a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, and we hope that there will be a remedy to this in the future.

They Took Our Jobs!

By: Ben Douglas

They took our jobs! This argument—or, more accurately, emotion-riddled platitude—is near and dear to the hearts of anti-immigration statists of both the liberal and conservative variety. What makes it stand out from the morass of the immigration debate is the paradoxical position held by many who espouse it.

Let us call things what they are. The ideology which calls for immigration controls on the grounds that immigration depresses wages or displaces domestic labor is protectionist in nature. Those who hold this ideology believe that greater prosperity can be brought about by artificially choking the supply of labor through state controls. To put the same principle another way, they think that greater prosperity can be brought about by initiating force against people who desire only cross an arbitrary and imaginary line on a map called a “border.” Migration barriers, like tariffs and exchange controls, are egregious violations of laissez-faire capitalism.

It is the contention of this author that those who complain that immigrants “steal jobs” from domestic workers are automatically admitting their hostility toward open competition and commerce. Many of them are workers themselves and resent having been outcompeted in the marketplace by foreigners who cannot even speak English. They find it undignified and degrading. At the root of these feelings lies a sense of entitlement: I was born here, I deserve better! Rather than bettering themselves by making their skills more marketable or offering a lower wage—i.e., competing—they call for government protection in the form of immigration restraints or the criminalization of immigrants and the employers who hire them.

Those who feel entitled never seek to better their plot in life through hard work. They seek the easy way out, and conservative political parties provide them with the means to do so. It is a myth that left-liberal parties monopolize on the political capital to be garnered from the entitlement mentality that pervades the baser instincts of mankind. The Republican Party has eagerly latched onto this mentality. It welcomes with open arms petty and bitter workers who would like nothing more than to crush their more efficient competition with police-state measures, such as SB 1070 from Arizona, the infamous 2010 “papers, please” immigration law. The jealousy inherent in their platform leads them to denounce freedom and call upon the power of government to protect them from the foreign menace of cheap labor. This is, of course, music to the ears of GOP politicians, who leap at the opportunity to expand the size and scope of the organization that employs them—the state.

It is this same mentality of entitlement that is used to rationalize labor union coercion, a favorite tool of the left. This practice holds the nominal wages of skilled workers above the market clearing rate, but only at the expense of the masses of unskilled workers condemned to unemployment as a result. Higher costs of production for businesses being threatened by coercive labor cartels quite often drives them to bankruptcy or—perhaps the ultimate goal of the protectionist—to dependency on the state. One need look no further than the UAW’s plundering of General Motors to see the destructive power of labor unions.

Just as the protectionists opposed to free trade believe that prosperity can be brought about through “parity-pricing” or tariffs, the protectionists opposed to free immigration think that prosperity can be brought about through artificially boosting wages. Since wages are nothing more than the price of labor, immigration restraints are nothing more than an indirect form of price controls, one of the most harmful interventionist schemes.

At the root of interventionism lies what free market economist Ludwig von Mises called the anti-capitalist mentality. People who hold this mentality, many of whom call themselves conservatives and paradoxically claim to be supporters of the economic system of capitalism, fight it tooth and nail when it comes to the realm of immigration. The time has come for conservatives to decide whether they adhere to the principles of laissez-faire capitalism or protectionism, for they cannot do both.

GOP Primary is Anybody’s Game.

By: Alex Holzbach

The race for the Republican nomination has taken some very interesting turns recently. The nomination battle has dwindled from ten major candidates to four, with almost every single candidate experiencing a large rise – and then a sharp drop – in their poll numbers. And this rollercoaster of an election shows no signs of letting up; Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich continue to fight for the GOP nomination.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the most recent candidate to experience a skyrocket in support, watching his numbers in the key caucus state of Iowa rise from a measly 3% to an impressive 18% in less than two weeks. This increase in popularity – which he turned into a win – is likely due to the fact that Santorum marketed himself as a strong social conservative to the largely evangelical Hawkeye State.

Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum at FSU in January

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has seemed to garner a stable 25-30% over the course of the campaign, gave Santorum a run for his money in Iowa. Originally, Romney was deemed the winner; after a careful recount, Santorum was announced the winner by a mere 34 votes. Romney then continued on to New Hampshire, where he soundly won with over 39% of the vote. He continues to be considered the likely GOP nominee, which has caused the other candidates to fight to be the “anti-Romney” candidate.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has continued to fight Santorum to be that candidate, vying for the staunchly conservative wing of the party. This fight has arguably been successful, as Newt Gingrich was able to take a whopping 40% of the vote in South Carolina. Gingrich continues to portray himself as the real conservative candidate, displaying his time in the 1990’s as Speaker of the House.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has more than tripled his support from his 2008 bid for the White House. After warning of the economic collapse long before it actually occurred, many Republicans have taken notice and backed his campaign. Although Ron Paul has yet to win a state, he came in a solid second in New Hampshire and competed for the win in Iowa. His campaign continues to be optimistic, suggesting that only his campaign has the infrastructure to go the long run against Mitt Romney.

Polls have shown that most Republicans see Romney as a moderate candidate, but would themselves prefer a true conservative. Newt Gingrich, in an attempt to woo traditional conservatives, is touting his 21st Century Contract with America, a plan similar to the one he helped pass in the 1990’s. Rick Santorum is courting social conservatives, spending more time than the other candidates talking about the bastion of conservative family values. Ron Paul has historically appealed to a small, libertarian crowd but is gaining ground in Republican circles due to his very conservative, limited government economic policies. Regardless of the hunt for an “anti-Romney” candidate, however, Romney remains most popular in the national polls, likely due to his successful business background. That popularity has resonated with Florida voters, where Romney secured a big victory with his 14 point win over Newt Gingrich.

Note: This article was written before the Maine and Nevada Caucus