So if Herman Cain were to drop out of the race, which candidate would benefit from the remainder of his support base? The answer at this point appears to be none other than the surging Newt Gingrich -- or at the very least, the general category of Anybody-But-Romney, and whoever its champion of the moment might be.
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As we have often seen throughout the race, the Republican contest has gone through a cycle of one candidate or another gaining a sudden, massive amount of support against Romney, only to collapse when their various flaws have been exposed to the light of day. Previous examples of this boom-and-bust cycle have been Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and then Herman Cain. And all the while, Romney himself has been unable to catch fire.
Newt Gingrich is the latest candidate to surge. But as Charles Franklin has observed, his boom in the polls has been different, in that it does not owe to voters suddenly discovering himÂ -- he had high name recognition to begin with, warts and all. As such, it is possible that maybe, just maybe, he might not encounter the bust part of the cycle. (But then again, maybe he could crash after all.)