«Mr Specter explained his decision to switch parties by saying that his vote in favour of Mr Obama’s stimulus package had caused an irreconcilable schism with Pennsylvania’s Republican Party, particularly the hardcore members who vote in primaries. But in truth he could probably have pointed to any number of irreconcilable schisms with his former party. Mr Specter parted ways with the Republican Party because the Republican Party is ceasing to be a viable force in Pennsylvania.
Mr Specter faced a strong challenge in next year’s Republican primary from Patrick Toomey, a fierce conservative who has been ahead of him in the polls by some 20 points, buoyed by white-hot Republican fury at the Obama administration and generously financed by the low-tax, minimal-government lobby, the Club for Growth. And even if he had survived Mr Toomey’s onslaught, he would then have had to perform the difficult trick of moving back to the centre to beat a Democrat. Why subject himself to trial by fire when he could simply switch party?»
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