From the RedState link...
"The conventional wisdom is that it is Romney’s race to lose, but I wonder if the conventional wisdom might be wrong. If any consolidation starts happening, it will work against Romney. Just as Perry’s fall helped Cain get ahead of Romney, any fall by Cain could see those voters go back to Perry (if he rebounds) or go to someone like Newt Gingrich. And yes, a failure to consolidate should help Romney, but look at what is happening. When the voters move their gaze from one candidate to another, that candidate not Romney suddenly takes the lead. He’s the perpetual bridesmaid."
My conclusion is that some of these people need to go away so that the anti-Romney vote can coalesce around one candidate. Before Iowa would be best. But who is actually going to leave the race before Iowa for the sake of conservatism and the future of America? I don't see it happening. Cain obviously will not quit to make room for consolidation around another candidate, since he is currently in the lead.
I'd like to think Bachmann would put principle over ambition. But I also know her to not be a quitter, nor to believe people who tell her she cannot do something. Paul will not quit. Gingrich should not
quit - he's making the case for conservatism and against Obama better than anyone on the debate stage. Perry's just getting started and has deep pockets - he will certainly see it through beyond Iowa.
That leaves Hunstman and Santorum.
Santorum might leave if he doesn't generate some concrete support soon. If he stays and drops later after Romney has the nomination locked, I would look for him to endorse Romney and forever be accused of being an establishment stalking horse for the Romney campaign. If he leaves, he may regain some of the conservative credibility he lost when he supported Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey.
It is safe to say that any support Hunstman now has would move to Romney if he leaves.
So if Hunstman and Santorum are the only wild cards in this thing, I see little chance that their exit would dramatically effect the race one way or the other. If Hunstman goes and Santorum stays, boon for Romney. If Santorum goes and Hunstman stays, likely - but not certain - boon for not-Romney. If they both leave, likely a wash.
The best and only hope for an anti-Romney candidate to emerge as a clear choice with a chance to win before Iowa is if Bachmann, Paul, Gingrich, or Perry leaves the race. I just don't see it.
And so once again, the GOP machine will likely spew out a candidate that does not reflect the will of the conservative electorate.