The main question lingering after the CNN debate is which of the GOP presidential candidates will drop out next. The question seems idle, but dropouts redistribute support to those remaining in the field. Only after 5 or 6 more candidates drop out will we have a meaningful sense of the prospects of the remaining candidates.
Those most likely to drop out are the people we tend to forget are even running, like Rick Santorum and George Pataki. Along with them, Huckabee, Jindal, Graham, Cruz, and perhaps even Rand Paul are looking highly vulnerable.
The question is, which candidates will benefit most as some of the lesser candidates drop out? And would any of these candidates have fared better in a real primary than they have in mere opinion polls? At this point, much of the public sentiment regarding the candidates derives from the sheer entertainment value of politics.
The strenuous character of Wednesday’s debate shows every sign of winnowing the field. The odds of Donald Trump gaining the nomination have faded substantially overnight, as I noted in yesterday’s post.