BY THE absurdly elongated standards of American politics, next year’s presidential election is not that far away. It is less than a year until the first primaries and caucuses. By this time four years ago eight Republicans and ten Democrats had already thrown their hats in the ring; so far this year no serious candidate has done so, though Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker, has supposedly been on the point of declaring for some days. No presidential election, in fact, has got off to such a slow start since 1992—when, as now, there was an incumbent president and no obvious front-runner ready to take him on. There is no shortage of Republicans who consider themselves presidential timber, of course. But their slowness to register officially as candidates is an indication of the peculiar dynamics of the race.
The following is what they consider a 'very rough' ranking of the GOP field: