Mike Huckabee: Living and dying with the Religious Right | Arkansas Blog

Mike Huckabee: Living and dying with the Religious Right

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FIRST COUPLE OF THE FUTURE?: Mike and Janet Huckabee shop for guns at NRA convention. - TWITTER/JANETMHUCKABEE
  • Twitter/JanetMHuckabee
  • FIRST COUPLE OF THE FUTURE?: Mike and Janet Huckabee shop for guns at NRA convention.

The New York Times Upshot blog
says Mike Huckabee deserves a bit more attention than he's been getting as a Republican presidential primary candidate on account of his pull with the Religious Right voting bloc, still the largest single element of GOP primary voters.

Oh, sure. It calls him a "second-tier" candidate. It says his Fox News announcement of when he'll announce a decision was "parodic." Moreover, it comments:

And Mr. Huckabee, to be clear, is not an especially viable national candidate. He won virtually no support among non-evangelical voters in 2008, posting single-digit tallies among such voters in crucial states like Illinois and Florida. He did better among non-evangelicals later, but only after he was the only candidate remaining to challenge John McCain.

But he could be a spoiler.

A conservative candidate who hopes to win Iowa, like Mr. Cruz or Scott Walker, needs a substantial chunk of the evangelical vote. If Mr. Huckabee enters the race, he could pose a big roadblock to both. Even if he doesn’t win, he will make it easier for a relatively secular conservative candidate to win than has been the case in recent contests. And if Mr. Huckabee does win — as he very plausibly could over a strong, divided field — he will deny a more viable conservative candidate the easiest opportunity to consolidate the conservative opposition to Jeb Bush, or whoever wins New Hampshire.

If the Times is right about all this, it sounds like Democrats should wish for a Huckabee nomination and a continuation of his extremist posturing. But he, of course, is capable of pivoting. Already he's distanced himself from many Republicans by pitching himself as the only line of defense against Social Security and Medicare cuts. (Old folks are trending Republican.)

A Huckabee presidency? Not easy to contemplate. But there would be Janet Huckabee as First Lady.

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