So Mike Huckabee quit his day job over the weekend, which everyone assumes means he's gearing up for a 2016 run.
But the 2008 Iowa Caucus winner can't simply pick up where he left off. He's got some obstacles ahead.
One of those obstacles is fundraising, which I suspect is why Huckabee got out of the Fox gig. Huckabee was unable to capitalize on his surprise Iowa win, because he was unable to raise money fast enough to be competitive in the next wave of states.
Another obstacle is Rick Santorum. The improbable former senator went from losing his seat by 20 points to an Iowa caucus win* seemingly out of nowhere... but in large part, that was because Huckabee took a pass on 2012. How many people on Huckabee's now-stale list feel a fresher allegiance to Santorum?
Santorum faces the same money woes post-Iowa as Huckabee. In part that was Santorum didn't get the official W till two weeks late. But in part, I think it's an inherent weakness of social conservatives at the presidential level. As I noted a couple years ago, social conservatives are more plugged into church-based donating, and if you're all tithed out, it's harder to donate on short notice to a fast-surging campaign, or the donation is smaller.
Huckabee and Santorum are competing for exactly the same niche (or NICHE if you prefer). There's no room in the inn (see what I did there) for both, and though I suspect they both run, one drops out post-Straw Poll (which WILL happen). Ames 2007 narrowly decided that Huckabee, not Sam Brownback, would be the SoCons Not Mitt. Within days Brownback's crowds had dwindled to nothing, and in a few weeks he was out. America's gain, Kansas' loss.
If I'm wrong, and I've been known to be especially when discussing internal GOP politics, the winner of a split social conservative field is Rand Paul.
The Paul Dynasty is interesting in that support seems to be transferable across the generation. Ted Cruz is just another tea partier but Rand is FREEDOM!!!1! Also interesting: the Paul ceiling and the floor of support are close together. They'll get 20% in a twelve candidate field and 20% in a two candidate field. The difference is, 20% in a twelve candidate field is enough to win.
Kim Ron Il got 21.5% in 2012 and was just three points short of a win. That was in a race with six significant candidates and the winner(s) at 24.5. If the field stays splintered a dozen ways, and the math breaks right, Kim Jong Rand wins at 21.5%. In 2012, Santorum carried Marshall County with just 22.1.
Johnson County's seen a weird left-libertarian alliance in the last few years on local stuff. Assuming neither Warren or Sanders runs, which I'm assuming though I'm still hoping, the anti-war pro-weed crowd is much more likely to be interested in Kim Jong Rand than in Hillary vs. Jim Webb.
Again, I'm no genius on internal Iowa Republican politics, but not too much of a stretch to say and 79.5% of Iowa Republicans don't want a Kim Jong Rand Iowa win.
After this past week, I still have more wins in WI than Jay Cutler. #GoPackGo
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) November 10, 2014
I'm still predicting Scott Walker is the nominee. Mainstream enough for the establishment, crazy enough for the crazy.