Newt Gingrich defied conventional political wisdom in coming back to win solidly in South Carolina. Can he do the same in Florida, and what must Mitt Romney do to recover from Saturday's drubbing?
Or was it a clear sign that all bets are off in the GOP nomination race – a time when the mix of social, economic, and political forces in the United States have combined to create a new landscape for electoral politics?
Just three contests into the primary/caucus season, the question may be unanswerable, the kind of thing that keeps pundits and political scientists gainfully employed. But the results are stark.
“The size of his defeat by Newt Gingrich – a 12%+ landslide in a four-way race – is virtually a repudiation of his candidacy in a state that has prided itself on picking the eventual nominee for 32 years,” they write. “And we suspect Romney will have several more nights of heartburn, much like this one, as the nomination process unfolds.”