One more primary is done and the picture is more blurred than ever. With the 'blow them out of the water' victory of Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, the campaign will get more vicious than ever. This year that is saying a lot. On to Florida and also increasingly to some more caucus states like Nevada, Minnesota and Maine. Newt and Mitt will duke it out in Florida, Paul will skip the state and head to the caucus states wisely going after delegates and Santorum will still be attempting to find his place.
As the candidates leave South Carolina, the results have yielded some sharp observations.
-The Republican grassroots just don't like Mitt. They don't want him and are baffled on how to get rid of him. In Iowa and South Carolina over 70% of Republicans voted for someone else. Nate Silver wrote in The New York Times:
Perhaps, then, there is profound resistance among Republican voters to nominating Mr. Romney after all. He has significant weaknesses as a candidate, having reversed his position on several major issues at a time when conservative voters distrust the Republican establishment and value authenticity. And he is a Mormon from Massachusetts — not a traditional pedigree for a Republican candidate.
If the resistance is strong enough, perhaps Republicans will nominate Mr. Gingrich. Or perhaps there will be an effort to draft a candidate who is not currently running for president, like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida or Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin or Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
-In South Carolina, Mitt lost almost every county in the state except those in the Charleston and Columbia area. His biggest margin came from the 6% of the voters who make over $200,000 a year. In Edgefield County, Newt received 60% of the vote. In several of the bible belt rural counties Mitt was third.
-When Mitt conceded on Saturday it was more of a CEO giving stockholders back news and promising better results the next quarter than it was him being Presidential.
-Mitt, who thought he had 'killed' Newt in Iowa, must finish him off in Florida or his ability to become President will fly out the window. A close victory won't be much help to Mitt.
-The campaign in Florida promises to be ugly, vicious, filled with lies and counter lies and a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!