But if you remove his insulting of them, the point still stands that you need that part of the base to win. You cannot win a GOP primary without the hard right socially conservative, hard right Democrat hating base anymore. This is not Reagan's or Eisenhower's party anymore. Or Dole's. or even 2000's McCain's. What makes you think that the necessary amounts of hard right social conservatives would ever vote for Huntsman given his policies? Huntsman would have had to do what Romney did: Completely abandon his beliefs and former platform to say whatever he needed to say to get their votes. Romney made Clinton look principled. You can focus all you want on how Huntsman alienated parts of the base, but the it doesn't do a thing to address the core problem that they wouldn't have voted for him anyway simply because of what he stood for and what he refused to do. Gary Johnson was a bit more libertarian, but he more or less ran a similar no pandering campaign. The 2012 nomination showed you absolutely must pander to the crazies if you want to win the nomination. This is why Jeb Bush stands exactly zero chance of winning a nomination. It's embarrassingly sad that Bush Dynasty is offering the best candidate at this point.Huntsman didn't need to pander to that part of the base...he just didn't need to use the only significant aggressive act of his campaign to attack them.
Still doesn't address the core problem of winning a GOP primary. Even if Huntsman had maintained a positive campaign, he did zero pandering to the GOP radicals. Johnson didn't engage in the same kind of belittling as Huntsman and he ended up even WORSE than Huntsman. Fundamentally, it comes down to the ugly fact that the GOP voters didn't want a reasonable, adult candidate who actually stood for what he believed in. Romney's flip flopping made Clinton look like a steadfast wall. And that's who won the nomination.Which is what made him acting like a child tossing out insults towards his own side all the more ridiculous and suicide from a political sense. He was trying to run a positive campaign....and then when he finally went negative it was towards people on his own side. That's a political equivilent of kicking the ball into your own goal in soccer.
As I stated before, the science is just a manifestation of the various reasons Huntsman was doomed. The GOP extreme primary voters didn't not vote for him because of that. They didn't vote for him because he wasn't willing to completely abandon all of his positions to (temporarily) adopt theirs. Romney did.I know its fun for liberals to sit on the outside looking in and paint Huntsman, or his campaign, as something he wasn't. It happened the ENTIRE time throughout his campaign and it was also a factor playing into his problems. But the simple issue of his views on Evolution and Global Warming, in and of themselves, were far from the top reasons for his campaigns issues.