Bachmann’s support  is collapsing in the latest national poll.  She is well behind not only Romney and Perry but even below Ron Paul.  She is in fact down there with no hopers Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.  This is great news for Rick Perry.  His nightmare is of a two-front war against Bachmann on the populist right and Romney on the electoral prudence-oriented center. If Bachmann becomes just a nuisance, then Perry has a lot less to worry about.  Bachmann has a huge amount of work to do.  She not only has to peel off Perry’s more conservative and populist supporters, she also has to make sure that those supporters go to her rather than dividing between herself, Ron Paul and Santorum.  Perry should expect a lot of incoming fire from the candidates to his right, but he has a strong hand.  If he can retain enough support to win Iowa, Bachmann and the rest are done.  Then it becomes a two-person race with Romney that Perry is well positioned to win.  The mission for the right-of-Perry candidates is clear: they have to take Perry down hard.  It is their only hope of maintaining relevance past Iowa.  This won’t be easy and it won’t be done all at once (if it happens, it is more likley to be a process of erosion after endless attacks rather than some dramatic event.).  There is reason to think it won’t be done at all

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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