Romney’s New Hampshire Primary Shoe-In: The Race for Second Place Among the Also-Rans

At the time of this writing, the results of the New Hampshire primary and the Republican nominating contest are officially in doubt. At the time of this writing, the results of the Republican nominating contest, and to a lesser degree, the New Hampshire primary, couldn’t be more certain.

They weren’t decided Tuesday night; they weren’t decided in Iowa, and they won’t be decided in South Carolina in two weeks. The great secret of presidential campaigns is that despite two years of a carnivalesque drama, fluctuating poll numbers and maybe even a primary-night victory or two, it is pretty easy to tell who the winner will be once the field is set.

Did you really think Howard Dean would carry the Democratic line in 2004, even as he led all polls for most of the run-up to the voting? Did you really think Rudy Giuliani would be the Republican candidate in 2008, even as he opened up double-digit leads in state and national polls? Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter are anomalies; on the Republican side, the exceptions are nonexistent. The also-rans—the ones whose turn it isn’t—run for one of two reasons: either they hope to finish in second place, in order to the next guy in line the next time around, or they are running To Prove a Point—that America is about to be taken over by Mexicans, or that moral decay is imminent. Or, this time around at least, they run to raise their profile, make some money off of book sales, get a gig on Fox News. (Has Herman Cain ever made a business move that paid off as much as his aborted attempt to become the Leader of the Free World?)

But gamely they soldier on. Read More