Don’t Throw It, Mr. Romney

The former Governor should actually try to win.

In 1919, Baseball was tarnished by eight players on the Chicago White Sox who threw the World Series for a minor profit. The 1919 World Series remained the most high profile case of a thrown competition for almost a century.

At least, until 2012.

Lately, presidential candidate Mitt Romney has turned deliberate self-destruction into an art form, delivering a performance comparable in both cruelty and creativity to the proverbial performance artist who tied a starving dog to the wall of an art gallery to die.

He is making a mockery of our democracy, and The Harvard Crimson will not stand for it. Our form of government depends on the good-faith participation of both major parties. When one candidate chooses to throw an election instead of trying to win, the sanctity of our republic is diminished, the quality of our leadership is reduced, and the financial contributions of our wealthiest citizens are wasted. As political scientists can attest, the perpetual tug-of-war between pitchfork-wielding, Apocalypse-awaiting reactionaries and latte-sipping gay supremacists is one of the few things keeping us from the terrifying descent into tyranny. By effectively removing Republican participation from the 2012 presidential race, Mitt Romney has pushed us one step closer to Beijing-style autocracy.

Although Romney’s political suicide is, at this point, a matter of doubt only among the delusional, it may be worth running through a few instances to outline just how egregious is his delivery.

For starters, he spent a solid two minutes insulting poor, elderly, and disabled people, suggesting that they do not have “personal responsibility and care for their lives.” He made these comments at a fundraiser hosted by a hedge-fund manager. Unsatisfied by merely offending the disadvantaged, he openly stated that he would not make any attempt to seek their votes. While he claimed not to know that he was being filmed, his monologue sounded too much like it was written by Democratic strategists—or at least someone hell-bent on making sure Romney never gets elected. One is forced to speculate that it was deliberate.

As if the heartless plutocrat routine wasn’t sufficient to cost him the election, Romney also publically disavowed any attempt to seek a resolution in the Mideast conflict, opting instead to “kick the ball down the field.” And Monday, in effort to come across as unintelligent (despite evidence to the contrary), he stated that he “do[esn’t] know why [airplane windows] don’t [open].”

All indications suggest that Romney’s cynical attempt to lose the election is working. Recent polls show Romney trailing in every swing state. The New York Times’ expert statistician Nate R. Silver gives him a less than 25 percent chance of winning on November 6.  He still has three debates left to drive that down to maybe 10 or 15 percent. Our guess is that he’ll jump at the opportunity.

No one can say with any certainty why Romney is bothering to run at all if he’s just going to throw the race. Running for president is supposed to be immensely stressful and financially costly. Perhaps he’s looking to short his stocks on InTrade or is secretly the liberal many conservatives fear he is, and he is trying to deliver a death blow to the Republican party. No matter how you slice it, shame on you, Mr. Romney.

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