This is wide open. And Romney is eminently beatable. Among the under-20s Gingrich is beating Romney by 31 percent to 10 percent. Among those between 30 and 44, Santorum and Paul are vying for first place.
If Sullivan can make this much of one poll showing Romney dropping and Gingrich closing since New Hampshire, I don’t see why I can’t look at the Real Clear Politics parti-colored spaghetti of spaghettinis poll of polls and think about the state, not the state of South Carolina, but the whole state, the nation- and culture-state. Even partisan primaries must eventually, if only intermittently, if only for a moment, re-capitulate the state as a whole. Even the remarkably right-ideological 2012 Republican presidential primaries are, in the end, a competition oriented toward selecting the eventual chief of the whole American state and government, our quadrennially resurrected monarch whose name and particular aims may change, but whose roles and functions within the state system do not change until and unless the destruction and replacement of the system come into view. What this fact above all lesser presidential facts means practically, on the ground at just around this time, is that even reactionary conservative moon-baying clown-car morons, loons, empty suits, megalomaniacs, and sales-androids, and the sets of voters just like them or even less impressively gifted or responsible, must take on, reflect, and re-produce the idea of the whole state. Even driven all the way to the furthest right on the spectrum, the resultant discourse re-produces its own “right” and its own “left,” its own self-extension and its own negation, its own consolidating and disintegrating tendencies, and the further right the discourse moves, the greater freedom of movement to the left, the stronger the pull of the resultant vacuum – and there is great vacuum in this Republican race indeed – and then suddenly Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are Occupiers railing against vulture capitalism. The moment cannot last, but it will endlessly recur. Even if a shift of economics and luck gives one of these men an overwhelming electoral victory and Tea Party-Republican control of both houses of Congress, and God Himself the Irrefutable manifests to bless the Inaugural, the moment will recur, which is also why a president who sought to govern as pure partisan, set himself all on one side of the American governing dialectic, would need first and foremost to be prepared for a human tidal wave in the opposite direction of his agenda.