I completely agree with Eli Lehrer that the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee will be Romney. I also agree with his analysis of the reasons Republican nominations are decided on the question “Whose turn is it?” But what is completely lost in all the excitement over watching Mitt Romney vanquish one opponent after another is the intriguing question of who the next runner up will be.
Since President Obama is still more likely to be reelected than not and 2016 is likely to be a better year for Republicans, the real prize in 2012 Republican primaries may be not winning but rather coming in second. If the Republicans stay true to form, the current presidential field contains not one but maybe even two future Republican nominees! Is it too wonkish to start speculating over the identity of the 2012 runner up and 2016 presidential nominee? Is it too early to start asking bookies for odds on Jon Huntsman’s inauguration on January 20, 2017?