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A Prediction I’ll Probably Regret

huckabee.jpg(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

I’m going to go way out on a limb here and make a prediction I’ll probably regret:

The 2008 Republican presidential nomination will not go to Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain, or Mitt Romney. It will go, instead, to Mike Huckabee.

Why am I saying this? Follow me past the fold.

The Republicans can’t nominate Rudy because it would cost them at least one-sixth (and more likely one-quarter) of their entire voting base. Seriously.

54% of evangelical voters — who as a bloc are 34% of the GOP’s electorate — have said that they’d likely go third party rather than vote for Rudy. They hate him because of his past backing of gay rights (and because he’s an Italian Catholic Noo Yawkah, but they can’t quite say that out loud unless they think they’re among friends).

In another poll, over a quarter of the GOP base says that they’ll vote third party if Rudy is nominated and there’s a Christian 3P candidate. And guys like Richard Land have said that this is not a bluff.

The GOP would rather not lose a sixth (or a quarter) of its hard-core voters in order to make a stab at what is at best a 50-50 shot of Rudy’s beating Hillary. They’d much rather fight the dirtiest campaign imaginable with an evangelical-pleasing Republican (such as former Baptist minister and current former (thanks, Jolie and Blue e) Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who the Iowa Republicans are turning to in growing numbers as their caucuses approach) at the helm, so as to depress overall voter turnout while giving red meat to their base.

If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m right, you heard it here first.

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