I’m not sure what is sinking faster, the Costa Concordia or the GOP. While the loss of the Italian cruise ship off the coast of Isola del Giglio is a tragedy, the drowning of the Republican Party here in the heartland of America is a travesty, so much so that I might not vote this year. Not because I don’t want to, but because I won’t have to. It is only the end of Jan. and the Republicans have already successfully torn themselves apart by cutting themselves down at every corner. With the way things look now in the race for the White House, Obama is a shoe-in.

I missed my chance to vote due to age by mere months during the 2008 election, but that didn’t stop me from becoming interested in the race. I spent countless hours debating with my cohorts as to whether McCain or Obama would make for a better president.

It was exciting that both parties had a viable candidate and that the race had excited a lot of Americans to head to the polls. I vowed that I would be ready to vote in 2012.

Four years have passed and here I am trying to decide whether I am watching the Republican Primaries or an episode of Jersey Shore. Instead of watching a professional debate among potential presidents, I’m seeing grown men acting like children.

Seventeen debates later, the battle for the Republican nomination has boiled down to a religious zealot with a jihad against same-sex marriage, a millionaire hated by what seems to be a growing majority of his own party’s primarily Republican states, and a racist who wants to establish a colony of the moon while fearing a religious take over by radical Islamists.

Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the party debates back in 2007 as I do today with the current race for the nomination, but it seems to be a bit ridiculous that there have been so many debates already. And the debates themselves have turned into what feels like the main event at Wrestlemania with the GOP candidates throwing mud at one another throughout the whole process.

Watching these debates, I found myself thinking that they were too inane to have any real effect on the outcome of the nomination, that maybe they were just a side show to get more ratings on certain cable networks. I figured that while Romney may have to weather a bit of the storm, he would inevitably sweep each primary. And then South Carolina happened.

The idea that a clear cut nomination for Romney was inevitable was quickly turned on its head with a win for Newt Gingrich in SC.

What stands out more than anything is the fact that in order to clasp his win Gingrich had to turn to cutting Romney down on many levels by attacking his immigration policies, labeling him as the “Washington Establishment” and attacking his own personal tax record.

Naturally offended, Romney has been on the rebound trying to defend himself against Gringrich’s war cry and thus starting an all-out war between the two.

I may be confused, but I thought GOP candidates were supposed to be united behind a common front: getting a Republican into the White House. I understand that each candidate is vying for his own survival, but both men have lost sight of the ultimate goal. The mud slinging has become so bad that they have made each other look like the wrong person to lead the nation.

The Republican Party’s response is just as chaotic as the war being raged by its two flagship candidates. Instead of coming together to take a stand behind one candidate, correspondents throughout the party are taking sides and setting up defensive positions within either in the Romney camp or the Gingrich camp.

By the time a candidate is selected to take on President Obama, the party will be in shambles, recovering from a civil war. The party will have to forget all of the negative press that has been brought to the surface about whatever candidate becomes the Republican nomination.

I see this as being impossible. With traditional southern states like SC hating Mitt Romney, convincing them to vote for Romney in the real election would be a stretch. And the same goes in Gingrich’s case.

I was anxious to see a close political race this year, but I fear that I am going to see something far from it. If things continue the way they have, Obama will come away with a uncontested victory and leave the Republican party asking, “What happened?”