Shifting narrative as Gingrich overtakes Romney

Originally posted at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field

Jon Ward at Huffington Post has a fantastic piece on the shifting political narrative that has happened while Newt Gingrich has overtaken Mitt Romney for the lead in the Republican presidential primary. At issue is while Romney has been running on a platform of inevitability, large swaths of the GOP base have chosen instead to be drawn to anyone who isn’t him. That has allowed the space to exist for an alternative to come forward. In this moment of the campaign, that alternative is Gingrich. Ward writes:

Yet as the Romney campaign has fought with the White House, Gingrich has developed a head of steam. He is now leading Romney in national polls, as well as in Iowa surveys, and got a big boost Sunday in New Hampshire when the Manchester Union Leader endorsed him.

Romney’s image, meanwhile, has taken some hits for running the misleading ad, and his criticism of Gingrich’s position on immigration provoked ridicule from Rush Limbaugh of Romney’s own muddled and confusing past statements on the issue. There are lingering questions about how much Gingrich’s softer tone about how to deal with undocumented immigrants may hurt him in Iowa, but so far he appears to have weathered the storm rather well, especially given how badly Texas Gov. Rick Perry was hurt by his stumble on the issue.

We are only weeks away from the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. There’s still a lot of politicking to be done, positive ads to air, and likely even more negative ads. The field operation of each campaign will be put to the test in the next two months. And finally we’ll be able to move away from scandal and gaffe driven horse race polling and into actual democracy. We will begin to have a picture of whether or not Romney can win the nomination on a mantle of inevitability or someone like Gingrich will carry the Not Mitt banner to victory.

Until then, the analysis of the race as provided by Ward will remain one of the best. Romney by no means has this locked up and I think we’re in for a whirlwind couple of months.

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