February 5 Is Still A Long Way Away

1. Mitt Romney loses New Hampshire and Michigan; functionally, he’s out of the race. He has plenty of money still, but nothing to spend it on. Everyone’s looking at the race as McCain vs. Huckabee for the nomination. Romney’s only hope is either a brokered convention (which would be unlikely to swing his way), or to be chosen as VP. But by whom? Not McCain – he hates Romney’s guts. Not Huckabee – with him it’s not personal, but what’s the payoff? But there is one candidate who could use someone with credibility with the social right and a reputation for competence and clean living. So: Romney drops out and endorses Rudy Giuliani. Which endorsement pulls Rudy back to first place in Florida, a victory he rides to a collection of bicoastal victories on February 5th and the nomination.

2. Hillary goes into free-fall in New Hampshire, and Edwards winds up coming in a surprisingly close second to Obama. Edwards roars into South Carolina, and the native son squeaks out a narrow victory over Obama as the Clinton campaign finally and completely implodes. And suddenly it becomes apparent that it wasn’t that Obama and Edwards had been splitting the anti-Clinton vote, but that Clinton and Edwards were splitting the traditional Democratic vote. And on February 5th, Edwards wins a plurality of delegates, Clinton drops out and endorses him, and Edwards rolls on to the nomination.

I don’t think either of the above will happen – these are not predictions. Just pointing out how much plot could be left in this baby.