Steve King’s Presidential Forum
The Republican Presidential contenders attending Congressman Steve King’s “Freedom Summit” Presidential forum in Des Moines on January 24, 2015 need to be very careful. If they pander too much to Steve King, who is a nationally very controversial politician, they risk being politically destroyed by what I call the "Bachmann Factor." Michelle Bachmann, former MN Representative, is a close friend of King's. She won the 2011 Ames Straw Poll in the last election but her positions, very similar to King's, were so divisive that she subsequently tanked in the Iowa caucuses.
Stepping back to a previous caucus season, former Governor Mike Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa caucuses but then went on to tank also because he was too socially conservative and did not have a robust wide platform including a strong experience in foreign policy. I believe that 2016 Republican contestants have to avoid getting “Hucked.”
Potential GOP candidates also have to be worried about getting "Santorumed." Named after former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum that’s the process whereby a candidate appeals to Iowa's most faith-based, evangelical, and socially conservative voters only to be rejected by the more secular conservative and even moderate primary voters in much of the rest of the nation. That’s what happened when Mitt Romney beat Santorum in 2012 for the GOP nomination.
In other words, the 2016-wannabe candidates have to be careful beyond Iowa not to alienate the majority of Republican voters who chose Mitt Romney NOT Rick Santorum as their candidate.
Then, whoever gets the nomination has to make sure he or she (Carly Fiorina is showing signs of interest in running for President) doesn't veer too far from where “no-party” (i.e. so-called "independent" voters) are located on the political spectrum.
Talking with Republican strategists I discovered that they are indeed concerned about the fact that someone as liberal as Barak Obama could win two Presidential elections. Of course, conservative Republicans argue that the success of the democrats in 2008 and 2012 can be blamed on the GOP Presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney actually being too moderate.
Other analysts of course, point out that McCain had Sarah Palin as his running mate who helped him with conservatives but drove away too many voters in November. Mitt Romney it is argued was forced to the right (he was a moderate as governor of Massachusetts) and was at the same time seen as an elitist who did not connect well with working class voters.