At this point, it's more fun for me to speculate about what will happen after the election than to guess what the result of the election will be, so let's take a moment to think about what major figures might be in a Romney administration.
Sarah Palin: It would be great for her political career to get some experience as a cabinet officer, but I doubt very seriously she would be picked. She just attracts so much negative attention, and I would be surprised if Romney wanted to start his administration with that burden. On the other hand, if things are going very poorly after two years, she might come in and provide some new energy.
Newt Gingrich: Newt is sort of the elder statesman of the Republican party now, and I find it hard to believe that Romney would not want to include him in some capacity. It could be in a cabinet post -- I would think he would want to be in on domestic policy -- but it could also be as a White House strategist.
Chris Christie: He has been a big Romney supporter, and has a large Republican fan base. If he wants to be president -- and what politican at his level would not? -- then actually serving in one would certainly look good on his resume. I'd put him at the Department of Education and task him with dissolving his own department.
Bobby Jindal: Jindal has been widely praised by Republicans for years. He hasn't made any noises about running for president, but a lot of people would like to see him in the administration.
Susana Martinez: She declined calls to run for Vice President, but I think a Romney administration would try to pick her up (perhaps as AG). She has a great story, and her presence further gives the lie to the Democratic talking point about Republicans consisting only of white males.
Allen West: There are not only two black Republicans in the House of Representatives for the first time in my lifetime, but I seem to be noticing more conservative black columnists than I ever have before. Putting West in the administration would further emphasize the growing Republican appeal to blacks. West is also a Tea Party favourite, and Romney will need to secure their support with at least a few appointments (at least one?).
There are many other interesting possible appointments to consider, but I'll stop there. One other point of interest is that Barack Obama, should he lose, would be the second-youngest ex-president ever (Theodore Roosevelt was younger by a few months). He would have a long public career ahead of him, including possible future runs for the White House.