A quiet day here before tomorrow’s grand campaign finale for Iowa. After last night’s Des Moines Register poll solidified the top tier– Romney, Paul and Santorum–the question becomes: what next? Answer: South Carolina. Next week’s New Hampshire primary is expected to be a Romney walkover–and it may well be, especially if Romney wins here.

The word today is that Iowa may not fulfill its only plausible function: winnowing the field. It seems that both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich will stagger on. Neither candidate seems to have much hope in New Hampshire. Perry may wind up owing votes there. But they will hang on to test their mettle in South Carolina, a real southern state, the deepest crimson of red states. Why will they do this?