Why Romney’s sticking with birther Trump (at least so far)

He’s running for office, for Pete’s sake.

Or, as he put it the other day,

You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in. But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.

But assembling electoral coalitions is not a simple process of adding new groups.

This association with Trump could rev up a part of the Republican base that hasn’t been enthusiastic about Romney.

At the same time, the link to Trump may turn off some, rev up Obama’s base, and signal to the media that Romney is uninterested in the truth (although that should have been discovered from his policy arguments).

Is it worth it to Romney, given that Trump’s standing fell precipitously last year, after the White House released the president’s long form birth certificate?

Back then, Trump looked pretty bad, as Obama roasted him at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.  Obama’s jokes about Trump’s “hard decisions” and leadership seemed to strike even harder the next evening, when the president announced the killing of bin Laden.

Romney clearly is willing to take the chance that it’s a net plus for his candidacy.  But if tensions heighten over his links to Trump, the more he may want to cut the ties, even as doing so would make birther-friendly elements quite unhappy.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.