The four contenders for the GOP Presidential nomination are a very weak field. None of these candidates have managed to coalesce the three main strains of conservatism -- social, fiscal, national. Neither can any one of them appeal to these diverse interests without alienating swing voters in the general election.
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is the most consistent social conservative, but his big support of Big Government has distanced him from the fired-up Tea Party. Without a doubt, Mr. Santorum would sell very poorly in the Bay Area if he were bran of baby or dog food.
Ron Paul is the fiscal conservative, the only Presidential candidate who has offered a suitable and substantial plan to reign in government spending. His libertarian views on marriage and other social policies certainly command a decent respect in Northern California, where voters have long felt alienated, I imagine, by the liberal establishment that has demonstrated little adherence to individual liberty. His marginal views on foreign policy have alienated many, by pacifistic elements along the Pacific may be far more receptive.
Newt Gingrich is too much of everything. Loud to the point of brash and knowledgeable to the point of corruption, the former House Speaker has a celebrated resume, marred by a disgraceful exit from power and a tumultuous personal life. His inconsistent life and politics may not dissuade San Francisco voters, who are accustomed to tumultuous political candidates.
Mitt Romney has been the Establishment favorite, disdained by more than seventy percent of eligible primary voters. The former Massachusetts governor is a middling moderate to hard-core conservatives, but his healthcare mandate may impress Bay Area voters enough to give him another look, if not their vote.
This is the once-in-a-lifetime chance for the limited GOP caucus in Northern California to alter the sweep of the current GOP nomination process. California primary voters may be poised to force a brokered Republican convention for the first time in over seventy years.
Whatever the outcomes may be in the Summer in Tampa, a lower voter turn-out coupled with a mixed reaction to the candidates who insist on staying on until the bitter end are indicating that a compromise dark horse candidate may be able to step in, coalesce the disparate and desperate elements of the GOP, and promote a Presidential candidate candid and capable enough to take on and take down President Obama in November.