Former Utah Governor and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has officially announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for president.
In a time when the Republican litmus test for candidacy admission is how far right you can swing, an apparently relatively moderate Republican doesn’t stand much of a chance for getting the nomination.
Can Huntsman survive this truism? Does he think he can? If not, what other reason could he have for throwing his hat into the mix?
I have a theory: That Huntsman, in his heart of hearts, doesn’t expect he has much chance to win the presidential nomination. Failing that unlikely outcome, though, I believe that his goal is, in a sense, bigger.
I think that Huntsman’s larger goal may be nothing less than an effort to shift the Republicans’ out-of-control inertia to the right by dragging moderate voters out of the woodwork.
I’ve believed for years that the greatest danger to our electoral system is lack of an active voter base. Small turnouts empower motivated minorities.
If Huntsman can bring out moderate (dare I say liberal?) Republicans to vote in the primaries, even if he loses the nomination, he may be able to change the political calculations that favor so many far-right ideologues in the GOP.
I’ll be interested in following his campaign of the next few months to see if my theory has any merit.