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Final Thoughts on South Carolina & Nevada

January 21, 2008

I’ve been ill for the past few days, hence the delay in posting. However, here are my thoughts on the contests on Nevada and South Carolina.

1. McCain’s third place in Nevada, behind Ron Paul, has done nothing to alter the race since his victory in South Carolina and the fact that he didn’t campaign in Nevada, made the result in the Silver State irrelevant for all but Romney.

2. Huckabee’s failure to win in South Carolina has all but destroyed his candidacy. Huckabee came into this contest with the argument that he could combine social conservatism, a centrist economic policy and an appeal to minority voters into an election winning combination. His mediocre showing in Michigan downplayed the importance of his populist policies, while his decision to wrap himself in the Confederate flag undermined the second half of the argument. Even if his comments about gay marriage and making the constitution consistent were merely an unfortunate choice of words, this undermined his claim to being able to sell social conservatism to more moderate voters. The fact that he couldn’t even win the state shows that he can’t even carry his own base.

3. McCain is now the unambiguous frontrunner after his victory in South Carolina.

4. Fred Thompson’s campaign is also dead, although he may stay in the contest to prevent Romney from pulling of a surprise victory in Florida. If he doesn’t he will endorse McCain.

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