Republicans who don't want to vote for Ronald Reagan, will be relieved to learn they don't have to vote for a Democrat. They have a choice in their own party. They could nominate Harold Stassen.
Harold has been running for president since 1948, so he is well prepared. He would be extremely grateful, if not downright surprised, to be elected; therefore he would not be one to upset the status quo, which is Latin for Congress. And since Stassen is of approximately the same generation as Ronald, many reporters outside Washington might not know the difference.
If Republicans wish to make more of a choice, there is Gary Arnold. Gary may not be well remembered, but he was the 1981 candidate for Congress who received instant, though fleeting, fame when Ronald Reagan told him to ''shut up'' at a news conference. Rather than shut up, he is now entered in the Feb. 28 New Hampshire primary, which seems like going to too much trouble just to make a point. Especially when President Reagan may have been giving him good advice.
There is also a fellow named Benjamin Fernandez, who is apparently counting on the Republican Hispanic vote in New Hampshire. If this helps him to win big there, he would go over the top in more fertile Hispanic territory. According to one spokesman, he has good chances, since all legal Hispanics vote Republican. The illegals vote Democratic.
One final choice is David Kelley. He gets no publicity. In a way this is strange, since a lot of his ideas are out ahead of Reagan's. While Reagan wants merely no increase in the federal income tax, David Kelley advocates abolishing it altogether. That sounds like a winning platform. He also has a unique proposal for sending all the blacks back to Africa on a voluntary basis. Reagan, who has been losing the black vote week by week, hasn't even thought of this.
Probably not much progress could be made on this before election, anyway, even if Reagan considered it; and as Jesse Jackson looks more and more like the Democratic front-runner, Republicans will probably settle for Reagan in the end.
At this point, it is anyone's guess whether soul food comes to the White House.