Huckabee, Trump Departures Could Boost Palin
Posted by Ashish on 05.16.2011
If she decides to run...
With both Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump announcing that they will not be running for President, it eliminates two major variables from the scrambled GOP primary field. Huckabee, in particular, would have been one of the frontrunners had he decided to run, so his decision to sit out has major ramifications on the rest of the field.
Huckabee would have once again been the favorite to win Iowa. His departure leaves a major void with Iowa's large Republican evangelical Christian base, a group that is now up for grabs. Sarah Palin likely won't run, but you have to wonder what her thought process is right now since she'd likely have the best shot at swooping up those remains in Iowa. Doing so would give her a very good shot at winning Iowa, and with the type of money she'd be able to raise, she'd have just as good a shot at winning the nomination as anyone else in the field. If Palin doesn't run, someone like Michelle Bachmann or Rick Santorum, two other Republicans who wear their religion on their sleeve, could benefit in Iowa. The question with those two is can they generate enough name ID and buzz for it to matter.
Trump turned out to be a one gimmick candidate and was never able to recover once President Obama released his long-form birth certificate and chopped up Trump's birther base. His departure though also frees up a 5-10% chunk of primary voters, a major opportunity for someone like Herman Cain, another "non-political" businessman with a no-non-sense approach, as well as, again, someone like Sarah Palin who is well liked by the same Tea Party types that were supporting Trump.
Mitt Romney also benefits here. With Huckabee out of Iowa, it's one less serious contender he has to worry about in that state, a state he lost last time around. Of course, this also likely means that Romney can't skip Iowa, as he was considering doing had Huckabee run again. As the undisputed frontrunner now, the media will likely blast him if he skips the first state. If Romney wins Iowa, he will be in very good position to win the primaries very quickly, since he is likely to do well in New Hampshire and the chances of winning Iowa AND New Hampshire and then going on to lose the primaries, with the type of money and organizational advantages he has, is slim to none.
Someone like Tim Pawlenty also benefits a bit, as he will now be given more stature as a legitimate "front of the pack" type candidate by the media since the field is so weak on big names. Whether he can turn that added attention into any traction is another story though.
Still though, the departures of Huckabee and Trump have the potential to benefit Palin more than anyone else, if she opts to run.