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Archive for December 17th, 2011

New GOP Rules Leave Door Open for Sarah Palin As a Late-Starter

Posted by Dr. Fay on December 17, 2011

Commenter Bill Weaver provided the link to this article by Sarah Jones at PoliticusUSA.  The article is mixed toward the end, but Ms. Jones makes some good points at the start of the article:

A perfect storm is brewing for the Republican Nomination that leaves the door wide open for a late starter, so buckle your seat belts because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

We’re less than a month away from Iowa. Normally, we would never be having a reality based conversation about who could jump in the race this late and pose a real threat. However, the Republican nominating schedule for 2012 offers opportunities for late-starting candidates that weren’t available in years past. Given this new structure and the date-a-thon the base seems to be having with each candidate, the field could be wide open in January for a late-starter.

In addition to the new rules, we have the added factor that the Republican Party is a house divided that has been unable to identify a clear, sustained front-runner that the base and the establishment can agree upon. In the latest Rasmussen poll, while the president typically leads named Republicans, he consistently trails a generic Republican candidate. When the President trails a generic candidate but not a named candidate, it suggests that the ten-minute date-a-thon hasn’t yet found a workable match for the Republican Party and its far right base. Who is this unnamed candidate?

The Republican front runner of the moment is Newt Gingrich, but unless Fox News can protect him he faces grueling months ahead wherein his ethics scandals and personal scandals will be introduced to an electorate who seem to have Foxian-inspired collective amnesia about the front runner. By January, it could be over for Newt as well.

And that means that Republicans could be in for a wild ride this January and February, because what looks like a set field could actually be wide open, due to a number of 2012 specific factors.

Rhodes Cook, Senior Columnist for the Center for Politics analyzed the factors that make a late-starter a possibility for the Republican Party:

But next year, the arrangement of the primary calendar is much different. It is less condensed at the front, much more loaded with events at the back, with the prospect of a viable, late-starting candidate quite real.

This is not to say that it will happen, but simply to note that it could. Such a scenario could not have unfolded in 2008, when the early January events were followed in short order by an early February Super Tuesday vote-fest that involved nearly half the country.

[…]

To be successful, a late-starting campaign needs to feature a candidate with considerable fund-raising and organizational ability who is capable of quickly grabbing national attention. Charisma helps, as does a campaign message that can evoke widespread support…. On the other hand, if Romney gets off to a strong start in January’s opening round, then there might be pressure on the right to enlist former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to pick up the anti-establishment baton.

Read more here …

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