Could Colbert Flip South Carolina in ’08?

Clearly, the Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert ironical nexus has flourished during the past six years of conservative rule. The Colbert Nation is a stateless horde of anti-Establishmentarians inveighing against the present Republican administration. But what happens when Colbert kicks it up a notch — as all good showmen must — and engages in a somewhat-real campaign, risking a fatal shark jump in the process. Clearly, Colbert registers anti-Bush voters. How many?

South Carolina — the only state where the Mediabistro Golden Boa Award winner has agreed to run — is considered the most conservative state in the union. The deadline for registration in the South Carolina Primary is December 19, and the primary is thirty days later, on January 19.

So, what will be the so-called Colbert Effect in South Carolina? The Atlantic blog notes, ”The political pros all think that Colbert voters, if any materialize, will be people who aren’t currently planning to vote in the primary.”

Could the Colbert campaign — which has already colonized Facebook — actually register a critical number of young voters in South Carolina? When Colbert gets knocked off after the South Carolina primary — as he inevitably will — what will be The Colbert Effect of those newly registered voters thereafter? More to the point — Will those registered anti-Establishmentarian voters of The Colbert Nation end up voting other than Republican? Is the Colbert candidacy a quixotic attempt at liberal irony against the most conservative state in the Union? And: how ”meta” is that?

No one begrudges Colbert because he doesn’t stand a chance in the Palmetto State. Chances are The Colbert Vote won’t turn any South Carolina electoral votes to the Democrat side, but might he stir up a Senate race? Might Colbert tip a Congressional race?

Who knows?