New York Times writer Nate Silver picks up on pieces by
1a. Mr. Gingrich leads the delegate count, but does not have more than about 50 percent of delegates.
1b. Mr. Gingrich holds more than 50 percent of delegates but is involved in a significant gaffe or scandal at some point later in the campaign.
2a. Mr. Romney has performed poorly enough in the early states that he is no longer viable.
2b. Mr. Romney is viable but his unfavorability ratings have considerably increased to the point that he no longer qualifies as a consensus choice.
3. A factional candidate like Ron Paul holds 10 or 15 percent of the delegates.
The key, I think, would be if both Romney and Gingrich stumbled during January. If that were to happen, there would be a window of opportunity in February—during the gap between the first spurt of January primaries and Super Tuesday on March 6. The window probably closes around Valentine’s Day—Tuesday, February 14—so let’s call the late entry the Valentine’s Day option. That could be the last chance (unless there’s a deadlocked convention, which isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility either) for Republicans to throw off the old suitors and run into the arms of a new Prince Charming. Or two. And Valentine’s Day is for the young.
So (as I argued a year ago—and several times subsequently), why not the best? Ryan-Rubio 2012?
Whole thing here.