Mitt Romney campaign in trouble

(Posted February 20, 2012)   After being on cruise control as the frontrunner in the early stages of the Republican nomination campaign, Mitt Romney is now in trouble.  Although he successfully fended off challenges from Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich, the GOP establishment pick is now running six points behind conservative Rick Santorum in national polls.  Romney's influential insider contacts and deep pockets have got him this far, but there is no doubt that he has failed to connect with the base of the party. His taxes, wealth and business dealings have come under increased scrutiny, as has his Mormon faith and more moderate policy choices while Governor of Massachusetts.

Romney's chart presents some familiar patterns for success but also contains a number of puzzling placements. First off, his apparently unexciting and cardboard personality.   Romney has been widely seen as a dull and somewhat robotic campaigner who finds it difficult to connect with people on an emotional level.  Normally, we would expect to see a strong Saturn since the ringed-planet often corresponds to a reserved and cautious approach to the outside world.  Romney has Taurus rising, suggesting a steadier approach that inclines him towards a more mainstream approach.  But look at the placement of 1st house lord, Venus.  Venus is placed in Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn. Lagnesh Venus is very well placed in the trikona 9th house suggesting a generally fortunate life and a successful father.  Romney is wealthy with a reported net worth of more than $250 million.  His father was governor of the state of Michigan.

Mitt Romney - March 12, 1947 9.51 a.m. Detroit, MI

Romney gets another dose of Saturnian reserve through Saturn's close opposition aspect to Venus.  This is arguably a stronger influence and makes him more of a rational and pragmatic thinker.  It may also make him less willing to display emotions as Saturn's preference for order and structure usually wins out.  The other thing to note about his Saturn is that it sits very close to both the equal 3rd house cusp and the IC, or unequal 4th house cusp.  Planets that are close to angles or close to aspects to angles tend to be stronger in their effects.   Saturn is the lord of the 9th and 10th houses and its placement on the 3rd house cusp creates a strong and indefatigable determination and ambition.  Saturn operates in a methodical and methodical way, so Romney likely goes about his business according to a well developed plan.  He is less likely to improvise as perhaps his more free-wheeling challenger Newt Gingrich is given to do.

Romney has been the front runner since the start of the race with the backing of the Republican establishment.  But he has stumbled several times and has failed to capture the imagination of conservatives. Gingrich was the flavor of the month in January for a while, but now it seems that the conservative base has coalesced around Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania. Santorum has vaulted ahead of Romney in national polls and enjoys a five-point lead after his sweep of primaries on February 7.  Romney is still well ahead in the delegate count but Santorum can close the gap if he does well on February 28 in Romney's home state of Michigan.  A Santorum win there would be humiliating to Romney.  It would likely set up a do-or-die scenario for Romney on Super Tuesday, March 6, when ten states hold their primaries.

Astrologically, we can see that much of Romney's problems are due to Mars' retrograde cycle through Leo. Mars therefore opposes his stellium of planets in Aquarius in his 10th house of status and career.   Actually, Mars stationed and turned retrograde in late January at 29 degrees of sidereal Leo -- just one degree from his Sun.  Mars is a difficult energy to integrate and it can create many headaches and frustrations. The additional problem with this Mars transit is that Mars rules the 12th house of losses in Romney's horoscope.  Its transit therefore more problematic as it undermines his status and makes him more vulnerable to attacks from opponents as his leadership qualities (Sun in 10th) are openly questioned.  We can see how its close aspects have thrown Romney back on his heels.  Gingrich unexpectedly won South Carolina on January 21.  Mars was just about to turn retrograde and was making a close opposition to his Sun.  Gingrich won the preceding debates and handily carried the state.  Transiting Sun at 7 Capricorn representing Romney's profile and leadership abilities was in mutual aspect with his Saturn.  Sun-Saturn aspects are often humbling as Saturn undermines our confidence and forces us to look at our weaknesses.   Transiting Jupiter also comes under the square aspect of Romney's Saturn thus making progress more difficult.

However, Romney rebounded to win Florida on January 31.  He got a boost from both Venus and the Sun as both planets were favorably placed.  Transiting Venus was conjunct his natal Sun and transiting Sun was conjunct his natal Venus. Transiting Mercury was also supportive of his efforts by virtue of its conjunction with the unequal 10th house cusp, or MC.  While the Jupiter-Saturn and Mars-Sun afflictions were still operating, these positive aspects were sufficient to offset the negativity and produce a much-needed win.

Once those good aspects moved away, however, Romney's difficulties returned.  Santorum's surprising sweep of the three primaries on February 7 in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri also occurred with transiting Mars still very close to aspecting his Sun.  And by this time, the affliction to transiting Jupiter was greater as it had moved into an exact square aspect with natal Saturn.  This was another problematic influence which blocked (Saturn) progress and rewards (Jupiter).

So what lies in store for Mitt Romney in Michigan on February 28?  While Mars has moved away from its affliction to his Sun, it will be very close in its aspect to his Mercury, the lord of 2nd and 5th houses.  This is clearly negative, although perhaps less so than the previous transit contacts to the Sun.  Transiting Sun will be just past conjunction with natal Mars in the 10th house.  This may be more positive as it suggests strong leadership and action.  Transiting Mercury will come under the positive influence of the aspect from his natal Jupiter.  So it's a somewhat mixed picture.  It does not seem bad enough to indicate an outright loss, but given that its his home state, the expectations here are high. Perhaps Romney wins Michigan but not by much so that questions about his candidacy will remain.  A narrow Romney win would be a moral victory for Santorum and would be helpful to boost the newcomer's profile nationally.   Overall, it does not look very positive for Romney.

Super Tuesday is up next on March 6 when ten states hold their primaries on the same day.  This will either re-affirm Romney's frontrunner status or push him into second place behind Santorum.  In terms of transits, we can see that the Mercury-Uranus conjunction will right in the middle of Romney's 11th house of gains.  At the same time, both planets will come under the unsettling influence of Romney's Ketu (SN) by 5th house aspect.   This throws up the possibility that the gains will be distorted in some way or turn out unexpectedly.  Natal Mercury is damaged by the Mars transit, while Ketu may be suffering due to the approaching conjunction from transiting Rahu (NN).   This Rahu-Ketu aspect is still three degrees off but it definitely might create problems for Romney in the near term. I tend to think it will undermine his chances eventually, either in March or April.  It's not a good transit to have when engaged in a competition.  So while Romney could conceivably do well on Super Tuesday, this nodal transit will probably cause him some problems him sometime fairly soon.

More generally, Romney's dasha periods do not look favorable for him.  He is running Sun-Saturn at the moment.  Sun is well placed natally in the 10th, but it suffered from the afflicting Mars transit in January and February.  While Mars has moved off the Sun, it's still pretty close.  Dasha lords generally produce better results when they are not under pressure from transiting malefic planets.  Minor dasha lord Saturn rules the 10th of profile and status and is well placed in the 3rd of ambition.  This 3-10 house combination is what one would expect when engaged in an extended campaign for recognition and power.  But Romney's natal Saturn is being aspected by transiting Saturn.  This is not good, although the aspect is slowly moving off as Saturn continues its retrograde cycle so that offers some hope for improvement for Romney. 

According to Krishnamurti ayanamsha, Romney ends his Saturn minor period and begins his Mercury period on March 10.  According to Lahiri, he switches over to Mercury on April 30.  Under both parameters, he will go through Super Tuesday under Sun-Saturn.  The Mercury period itself is a bit mixed since it is placed in the 10th house of recognition but between malefics Sun and Mars.  It is also retrograde and in a square aspect with destabilizing Uranus.  This may make him more subject to sudden twists of fate and he may appear to be less reliable and responsible at that time.   Even if Romney survives Saturn's minor dasha, Mercury does not look like it will be very conducive to winning the nomination either.  It's possible but not and influence that is clearly positive.

We don't have Rick Santorum's birth time, but his noon horoscope for May 10, 1958 does offer the possibility at least that he could do well in this campaign.  Transiting Jupiter is coming up to conjoin his Sun in April while transiting Uranus will conjoin his Venus around the same time.  On Super Tuesday, the Mercury-Uranus conjunction will be very close to his Venus.  This is a very favorable alignment of benefic planets that should help him continue his campaign.  However, transiting Mars will be approaching its difficult opposition aspect to natal Mars so that looks less positive.  A little mixed in other words, although on balance positive I should think.

We can also note a very strong grand trine pattern in his tertiary progressions involving Jupiter, Pluto and both Mercury and Venus later this summer.  The faster moving planets will be just a couple of degrees from exact around the time of the Republican convention in August so that definitely helps his chances for being the nominee or perhaps the GOP ticket's vice-presidential candidate.  The bottom line here is that Santorum's approximate horoscope looks quite good.  Given that Romney's looks more stressed, I think that Santorum looks like he will continue to gain momentum in the short term.  Whether or not Santorum has staying power may have to wait until Santorum's birth time becomes public knowledge.   Some observers have noted that if Romney loses Michigan, the Republican establishment will have to draft someone else (Jeb Bush?) to run against Obama in November.  So perhaps the race will go through more twists and turns before it's over.  Stay tuned.