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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Somebody Has to Win

So in the extended game of hot potato that the Republican presidential nominating contest has become, here’s the score:
* Newt Gingrich imploded in May and June, and has clawed his way back to being only a quarter of a million or so in debt, and rehiring a small staff in three states.
* Tim Pawlenty ran out of gas in August, and got out.
* Michele Bachmann got elbowed to the curb in September by the meteoric rise of Rick Perry.
* Perry bombed extensively in late September and most of October, losing about two-thirds of his support nationally and in the early states, with most of it going directly to Herman Cain.
* Herman Cain seems to be in the process of imploding right now, with his only consolation being that not much of anybody is talking about the floundering he was doing a couple weeks ago on abortion and foreign policy.
* Ron Paul ain’t going anywhere, and Rick Santorum looks to be in the position of trying to convince people to consider him formidable if he finishes third or fourth in Iowa, where he is campaigning monomaniacally.
Though it all, Mitt Romney drifts along in the mid-twenties in national and most state polls (except for his top states like NH and NV), even as it becomes apparent that the Tea Party wing of the party still opposes him violently, no matter how many times they are told his nomination is “inevitable.” Unless he pursues the risky strategy (the very one that blew him up four years ago) of entering Iowa with both feet in order to execute a “quick kill” on the entire field, he will probably have to endure an extended primary season in which he will be daily described as a crypto-liberal, forcing him in turn to say crazy, flip-floppy things to fit in.
Nate Silver published an extended piece over the weekend analyzing the odds on the general election outcome from the perspective of three variables: the president’s approval ratings; 2012 GDP growth figures; and the relative extremism of the Republican nominee. Obama’s doing not so great on the first two measurements, but number three is lookin’ good.

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