Jonathan Chait yesterday speculated that perhaps Michele Bachmann would benefit most from the "Trump meltdown." Putting aside that I wouldn't look at it that way (the Trump distraction is apparently gone, but you can't get a meltdown of something that was never real to begin with), I think Chait has a fair point that there's an opening for a Candidate of the Crazy in the GOP race, but I'm pretty confident that Bachmann's ceiling is limited. The same goes for the entire group of Candidate of the Crazy entrants: Cain, Santorum, and I suppose that's Newt's place in the field, too, although he has a bit more flexibility. None of them are real, influential leaders of the various groups and causes from that side of the party. It's certainly possible (but in my view, hardly certain) that one or more of this group will make some noise, but winning the nomination? Hard to see.
The one candidate who I believed might be able to make a go of it was Jim DeMint, but for whatever reason he backed out.
On the other hand...it's not as if there's going to be a major issue gap between Bachmann (Gingrich, Cain, Santorum) on the one hand and Romney and Pawlenty on the other. It's pretty clear that whenever any space opens up between them, Romney and Pawlenty are going to scurry as fast as possible to close it up. Nor are Romney and Pawlenty averse to aping the language of the crazy...it's possible that birth certificate jokes are going to fade now, but that still leaves plenty of fertile ground, from telepromters to book authorship to apologies, all available to signal sympathy for the Crazy.
No, with DeMint out, as I've said before, the chances of a Candidate of the Crazy getting nominated are very low, but the chances of a nominee feeling obliged to say lots of crazy things is quite high.
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