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Today's Strategy

You might not be taking Stephen Colbert's presidential candidacy seriously, but Josh Green is. Auditioning for the job of Colbert's campaign manager, Josh has come up with a surprisingly detailed blueprint for how Colbert could actually win a delegate or two in either one of the South Carolina primaries:

In the Republican primary, Colbert should focus on the First District, which stretches along the coast from Colbert's hometown of Charleston up to Myrtle Beach. Besides being most likely to respond to the "native son" gambit, the heavily conservative district's voters tend to be upscale economic conservatives rather than social conservatives (Colbert's appeal is stronger with the first group). The district also encompasses plenty of colleges and universities, including the Citadel, where Colbert's "patriotism" might yield votes, provided no one spots the scare quotes. The district also has a pronounced weakness for political gimmicks. Its congressman, Republican Henry Brown, got elected in 2000 after distributing 20,000 "Oh Henry!" candy bars to boost name recognition.

In the Democratic primary, Colbert's best bet is the Second District, which encompasses most of the capital city of Columbia, and, more important, has the highest concentration of college students. Though it's less Democratic than the Sixth District, it has a far higher proportion of white voters, which, in a Democratic primary, is exactly who Colbert needs to target. Even better, Columbia is its own media market. Colbert probably won't have Obama-like fundraising prowess. But an Internet campaign ought to be able to raise enough cash to run a few well-targeted ads (here again the drunken-college-student demographic could prove valuable).

Long story short, according to Josh: drunken college students are Colbert's friends; old people and African-Americans aren't.

--Jason Zengerle