More than three years ago, I predicted that the Republican Party, believing that it lost the election to Barack Obama and the Democrats because they weren't conservative enough, would splinter into at least two, perhaps three, distinct groups.
In Iowa tomorrow, voters in that very religiously conservative state will select their favorite among the seven remaining Republican candidates. And here are the top three: Mitt Romney, the socially moderate (he ain't foolin' anyone) fiscal conservative who has the support of many in the establishment wing of the party; Ron Paul, the heavily libertarian constitutionalist with the crazy conspiracy theories and no love for the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and Rick Santorum, a radical theocon who wants to outlaw abortion in all cases and strip already married gay couples of their marital status by constitutional amendment.
I believe my prediction has come true. Should Romney win tomorrow, as is largely expected, he will have a pretty easy go of it for the remainder of the season. If Paul finishes a strong second or even wins, watch the establishment take a flame thrower to his campaign such that he launches a third-party run. Should Santorum finish strong, watch the Christianists and Tea Partiers run with that all the way to Super Tuesday, believing in their chances to dominate, once and for all, the party they have tried to dominate since 1968.