Mitt Romney’s victory in New Hampshire Tuesday takes him one step closer to the GOP Presidential nomination, especially given the fragmented showing by the rest of the field. The former Massachusetts Governor met expectations in the state where he owns a home, and he will now head to South Carolina with no clear single rival who might unite conservatives.

Ron Paul’s strong second-place finish was also notable, showing the continuing appeal of his message of “sound money and personal liberty.” He did especially well, according to the exit polls, among voters anxious about the economy.

The reality, however, is that Mr. Paul has no chance to win the nomination. His isolationist views on defense aren’t shared by most Republicans and put him well to the left even of President Obama. In that sense, he is Mr. Romney’s best friend, unable to defeat the front-runner but doing well enough to block a more plausible potential nominee from emerging as a challenger.

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