I’m not going to attempt to compare Fiorina to DeVore: That would have been a more worthwhile undertaking if Campbell, supposedly at the behest of gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, hadn’t switched to the senate race at the beginning of the year. The real comparison should be between any-conservative and Campbell, who, in addition to being just the kind of bland establishment politician that Tea Party conservatives were invented to bring down, has an extremely dubious history of support for radical Islamist and anti-Israeli groups, ideologues, and activists that may give Barbara Boxer an opening she doesn’t deserve, and that in any event many conservatives will find difficult to forgive and forget…

Currently, Campbell appears to have a solid but not insurmountable plurality lead over Fiorina, with DeVore’s third-place vote more than making up the potential difference. That’s been the pattern in all or almost all polls since Cambell’s entry into the race. Often, the #3 candidacy in a struggle like this one collapses, as voters decide not to waste their votes. If that happens, there’s not a bad chance that DeVore and his ardent supporters will get the worst outcome: An embarrassing showing just strong enough to hand the race to the candidate with whom they have the least in common, while leaving division and recrimination behind among conservatives, reinforcing the perception that they’re too self-destructive to matter, at just the time that the state and the country need them.