Speaking realistically rather than statistically, John McCain has much less a chance of being elected President than does Mike Huckabee.
If McCain does secure the nomination, almost all those liberals and moderates whose votes got him the delegate count will vote Democrat in the general election. (If you don't think it's liberals boosting McCain, just ask Cynthia McKinney how we conservatives finally got rid of her by voting in the Democrat congressional primary in Georgia)
I don’t think committed conservatives intentionally not voting will be the factor in losing to the Democrats. But it’s the lack of inspiring voters who are conservative but not always politically engaged. Huckabee, as “the great motivator” that he is, or
Mitt Romney* or even Fred Thompson (if we could keep him warmed up) would stand a MUCH better chance of motivating the Republican base to get out and vote.
The Democrat base will be revved up no matter what this time, because of the identity politics of “minority” status with both their candidates. Please don't misunderstand and think Republicans would be against Hillary and Obama because of a "minority identity". I don't think it's an issue either way for most Republicans; but "minority status" is an even stronger motivator for liberals than the "it's his turn" effect among beltway Republicans is having for McCain.
The ticket I see as the best chance to really rev up Republican voters is Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, in any order. Both are very powerful speakers, are very likable (except to committed liberals who will always vote left anyway), and both are issue driven visionaries.My choice is, of course, a Huckabee/Gingrich ticket. (OK, I'd really like to see Huckabee/Hunter, but I think Huckabee/Gingrich would have a better chance at victory) On the other hand, I don't see the harm in supposing in could be the other way around when we're publicly promoting the idea of getting behind Mike Huckabee as a way to keep conservatism in the forefront; to people who are not primarily Huckabee supporters.
I also think mentioning "the Gingrich option" is a way to help diffuse the tension of The Conservative I originally supported VS The Conservative You originally supported. At this point, I think we need to focus on inviting others to rally behind the conservative banner. We need to focus on ideas and principles, not personalities as is so common among liberals.
Huckabee supporters can be glad Mike is the one still carrying the conservative banner. But as we "rally the troops" among the ranks of other conservatives; we may need to focus on the fact that the banner is still flying more than drawing attention to the fact that "their candidate" is not the one currently carrying it.
*[I heard about Romney endorsing McCain hours after writing this. Let's hope Mitt's delegates are still more concerned with conservatism than he apparently is.]