Two Ron Paul Winning Scenarios

[ Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 – 17:05 UTC ]

OK, all you Ron Paul fans out there -- this article's for you.

Since the 2012 Republican nomination fight has, so far been marked by its "anything could happen" nature, and since Ron Paul is still very much in the race in places like Iowa, let's explore how he could actually win the Republican nomination. This scenario is unthinkable for many inside-the-Beltway types and mainstream media types alike, but since it is the height of speculation season, a winning Paul scenario is worth considering. Two of them, in fact.


Path to a Paul victory (number one)

Ron Paul spends a lot of money in Iowa attacking Newt Gingrich. But his hidden weapon in the caucuses turns out to be how committed his mostly-young supporters are. Young people flock out in the freezing weather to the caucuses, and their participation swamps the other demographics who show up. Because the young are so committed, in other words, they turn out in outsized proportions to all other groups.

Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucus. Newt places second, Mitt Romney a distant third.

Romney turns this around by winning New Hampshire. Ron Paul places second, with Newt a close third.

In the gap between New Hampshire and South Carolina, Gingrich is interviewed on television. He is caught on a live microphone chatting with the interviewer before the interview begins, and this is leaked to the world. After the interviewer makes a comment about how well Gingrich is doing, Newt says: "Yeah, I only did this fundamentally as a money-making scheme. I never thought the voters would be stupid enough to actually vote for me! Look at Florida -- I'm leading the polls even though I'm going to cut all the entitlements Grandma gets. Can you believe it?"

Newt was leading the polling in South Carolina before this gaffe, but when the results are in after primary day, Ron Paul has won the state, with Romney a close second. In third place is Rick Perry, to Newt's enormous embarrassment. By the time Florida voting rolls around, it is a two-man race between Romney and Paul.

Voters are reluctant to embrace Paul fully, but are also just as reluctant as they've ever been to get behind Romney. Super Tuesday is not a blowout, but Paul begins edging Romney's delegate count out slowly. After a bruising primary season, Paul wins his magic number of delegates in Idaho, and hence the Republican nomination for president.

In an unprecedented and historic move, he names his son Rand Paul as his running mate.


Path to a Paul victory (number two)

This scenario begins the same. Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucus. Newt places second, Mitt Romney a distant third. Romney wins New Hampshire. Ron Paul places second, with Newt a close third.

South Carolina, however, is Newt country. He scores a huge win here, with Romney far back in second and Michelle Bachmann a surprising third. The race between Romney and Gingrich heats up.

Mitt and Newt wage an epic battle on Florida's airwaves. Paul contributes a few potshots at both of them. Romney wins, but just barely, when the votes are counted. Paul wins a distant third.

This pattern continues through Super Tuesday, which is inconclusive. Stacking up Romney wins against Gingrich wins becomes an obsession in the media. But Ron Paul continues to win small states with caucus systems, again because of the sheer energy of his young supporters.

The primary season, like the Democrats' in 2008, goes until the very end. Unfortunately, by the end, Paul has managed to collect so many delegates that neither Mitt or Newt has enough to put them over the top and reach the magic number which assures their nomination.

This leads to the first open, or "brokered" convention in modern times. Just before the convention convenes, Ron Paul gives a major speech in which he declares that he will not accept Vice President or any cabinet office in exchange for his support -- from either Mitt or Newt. This is received with thunderous applause by his supporters.

Inside the convention, the delegates begin voting. Over and over, they fail to reach a majority. Finally, the Ron Paul people begin to hold out the offer of the vice presidency as a possible lure for Romney or Gingrich. The Gingrich supporters reject this, but Romney is more open to the idea. In a shock to the entire political establishment, Romney throws his support to Paul and accepts the veep slot on the ticket.


Of course, I am not laying odds for either of these scenarios to happen. Contrary to the belief of the Ron Paul supporters, the media would absolutely love for either of these to take place -- or, indeed, any scenario which put Paul at the top of the ticket. Faced with the prospect of generating interest in a Romney/Obama matchup, a Paul/Obama matchup is much more interesting to report on.

To put it another way: one month out, I have no idea what will happen in Iowa. Neither does anyone else, really. But I certainly can see the possibility of a big Ron Paul surge, especially if he places either first or second in Iowa. That alone would shake the race up considerably. With the race already in a pretty shaky place right now, what this means is that anything could happen at that point. Even Ron Paul winning the Republican presidential nomination.

-- Chris Weigant


Cross-posted at Business Insider
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


9 Comments on “Two Ron Paul Winning Scenarios”

  1. [1] 
    DerFarm wrote:

    My apologies to all Ron Paul followers everywhere ... There IS no path to the R nomination.

    You can't get elected or nominated without AT A MINIMUM the benign neglect of the media that supports the bulk of your positions.

    Like it or not, love it or leave it, Fox News is the media of the right, and Ron Paul. If you don't get the love from Fox news, you don't get the Love from the right. And Roger Ailes is Fox News. And he don't like Ron Paul.
    and here

    I don't know how many people I've heard say they like certain positions of Ron Paul, but none of them want to vote for him. Irag and Afghanistan kill off the neo-conservatives, Absolutely no abortion kills off the progressives, DADT and marriage neutrality for gays kills off the social conservatives, actually having to FOLLOW the constitution kills off the fiscal conservatives ...

    Which leave the 12-15% support that he has all the time, everywhere. Such is life.

  2. [2] 
    tinsldr2 wrote:

    Hey Chris, admit it, You wrote this column just to drive out the Rupaul fans on Huffington Post. I have to admit as a Conservative we see them all the time on our Conservative blogs and watching them grasp at the straws you held out is funny.


  3. [3] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Stranger things have happened. The establishment tried to anoint Romney, but the base wouldn't buy it.

    What's kind of funny is watching the Republican party struggle with the same thing the rest of the country has struggled with for years: trying to work with people who have a religious idea.

    But religion hasn't won. Newt is just better able to conceal his "establishment-ness" from the base. This is why the Ron Pauls of the world pose an interesting dilemma for Republicans.

    Stranger things have happened. The narrative which would destroy Newt is that there's really not much difference between him and Romney. If people start to realize this, Paul could pull off an upset.

    Stranger things have happened.


  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Stranger things have happened. The establishment tried to anoint Romney, but the base wouldn't buy it.

    Just as, in 2008, the establishment tried to anoint Clinton, but the base wanted Obama..

    I bet the base is kicking themselves in the arse every day and twice on Sunday! :D

    Stranger things have happened. The narrative which would destroy Newt is that there's really not much difference between him and Romney. If people start to realize this, Paul could pull off an upset.

    Newt has some really big advantages that the Obama campaign truly fears..

    Newt isn't the enemy of the Middle Class that Romney is... Further, Newt has inroads into the Hispanic Community that rival Obama's...

    I think we can all agree that Obama can't run on his record because his record stinks to high heaven...

    Obama's only hope is run the most negative campaign he can in an effort to demonize the GOP candidate...

    Newt will be much harder to demonize than Romney...


  5. [5] 
    DerFarm wrote:

    I don't understand the argument "... small caucas states ..."

    Caucas States with delegates There appears to be some uncertainty over caucas states, but I think the analysis will hold, nonetheless.

    I'm going to assume that Mitt will garner roughly 20% of all the delegates from each state, Ron Paul will take 70%. I think its begin generous, but then this is a best/worst case scenario:

    Alaska 4 15
    Colorado 6 21
    Hawaii 4 14
    Iowa 4 14
    Kansas 8 28
    Louisiana 8 30
    Maine 4 15
    Minnesota 8 28
    Nevada 20 8 (c'mon, its Mormon)
    North Dakota 4 14
    Texas 10 35 (1/3 caucas)
    Utah 35 3 (Utah? get real)
    Washington 8 28
    Wyoming 4 14
    127 267

    out of 2288. Doesn't look like enough to me to move the meter much at all.

    The fact is, other than the newscycle worth (which can be enormous in Iowa and some early states) the caucases aren't worth campaigning over.

    If you can't make it in the big primary states, you are not going to make it. I've been unable to find Ron Paul vs the R's in the opinion polls for the big primary states. No surprise, its a long way out for most.

    However, my basic belief about Newt remains the same for Paul: If he was so beloved by the R's he wouldn't have had to sit thru the clown show of the last 8 months.

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    tinsldr2 -

    Moi? Toy with Paulites? Perish the thought...


    I am influenced by commenters, in terms of the topics I choose to write about, and the Paulites have been screaming for months about how ignored they are... so I thought I'd give them an early Christmas present, that's all.


    Just call me Santa Weigant.


  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    The point about Newt and Hispanics is a good one, and one many Democrats are missing, so far. Just had to say that.

    DerFarm -

    Ah, but Paul would only have to gain enough delegates to deny the other two an outright majority. And, in your example, it looks like he's got over 11%. That means if Mitt and Newt are both around 45%, Paul would deny them the win. In other words, I think your example backs up my scenario.


  8. [8] 
    DerFarm wrote:

    Chris, you're smoking Michale's funny cigarretts again. No way a 10%er gets top billing.

    Besides, you are assuming a monolithic delegate structure. Romney tries to "throw" anything and the shit hits the fan. In my opinion, a deadlocked convention gives the not to someone not already running ...

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Chris, you're smoking Michale's funny cigarretts again.

    Shows how much you know! :D I am the biggest anti-smoking Nazi around here. :D

    No, it simply means that CW exhibits my gift for logical and rational thought processes.. :D


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