Posted by Rojas @ 5:31 pm on August 8th 2011

Remember when Ron Paul was stuck at 1%?

Every time there’s been an incremental boost to Ron Paul’s electoral fortunes, we’ve been told to dismiss it as background noise.

There’s been a hell of a lot of background noise over the last five years and particularly over the last couple of weeks. The latest Gallup primary poll has him at 14%, beating Bachman, quadrupling Pawlenty, and sitting SECOND among all declared candidates.

My feeling about Paul has always been that he had a ceiling in the 8% range, and that the dropping of other candidates wouldn’t change that. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make that case.

And I’m STILL voting for Gary Johnson.


  1. I’ll likely vote Johnson as well. At this point, I’m just waiting for Chris Christie. If there’s a guy we need in the Oval Office at this point in time, it’s him.

    As far as Paul, I still tend to think that his support is more or less background noise. It’s not that he doesn’t have voters, just that he doesn’t have enough of them concentrated in one place to make too much of a difference, and I think anybody who is not a Ron Paul voter at this point isn’t likely to become a convert.

    My hunch is Rick Perry’s going to be the talked-about guy, and behind-the-scenes he’ll be the guy the money-bags and kingmakers line up behind, but they won’t go all-in behind him (in the way they did Bush 2000) for fear that Romney’ll end up the nominee. But Perry, from the day he announces his campaign a few days after Ames, will be treated as the heavy contender, and the biggest challenge for Romney…right up until Bachmann wins Iowa, at which point it all goes to shit. Romney wins New Hampshire, Perry maybe wins South Carolina, but by then enough people get spooked by Bachmann to run to Romney, and his organization is good enough to pick up a decisive plurality of other states while Perry comes off looking like a paper tiger in the way Fred Thompson and Rudy Guilliani did. Perry maybe ends up a decent second if he stays in for the long haul, because once it becomes clear Bachmann won’t win the nomination she’ll flare out and he’ll get all the anti-Romney votes, but it’ll be the mad scramble from Iowa to South Carolina that seals it for Romney.

    The rest barely show, save Cain who surprises with a few third place finishes, Paul who nails some decent seconds. Obama wins a tight reelection, and loses most of his administration (say hello to Secretary of State Kerry). And Bachmann, taking advantage of her newfound cachet, runs for Senate (and loses).

    Comment by Brad — 8/8/2011 @ 7:27 pm

  2. Wow. Laying down the predictions early.

    Comment by Jack — 8/8/2011 @ 7:43 pm

  3. Oh – and don’t hold me to this part – but Sarah Palin dangles her endorsement for as long as humanly possible, either endorsing Perry after New Hampshire and sparking a fierce catfight between grassroots conservatives (Bachmann supporters positively lose their shit), or, more likely, waiting and waiting and hemming and hawing until it no longer really matters, and endorses Perry, though nobody at that point really cares. She gets a plumb convention speaking spot and falls in line behind Romney for the general election, relishing her role as attack dog and, sometimes, causing the press to ask Romney to condemn this or that inflammatory statement, which he doesn’t do.

    And Romney picks Bobby Jindal to be his running mate. Also, don’t hold me to that one.

    Comment by Brad — 8/8/2011 @ 7:53 pm

  4. Remember: my most knowledgable Republican source has been picking Christie to win the nomination since this spring. Me, I don’t see it, given that he’s polling in the mid-40s in his own state; I think he will wait a cycle.

    I had always thought the same thing about Paul, that he was at his ceiling. I thought it at 2%. I thought it at 8%. I think it again now, at 14%. Maybe I need to think again.

    I don’t want to primary forecast at this stage, but I will talk a bit about Obama’s re-election. I have always sort of taken it as a given that he will beat Romney in 2012. The factor that has me reconsidering that is the European debt crisis. I am comfortable in guessing that Obama can survive a continual malaise along the lines of what we’ve been dealing with throughout his term, but we’re now looking at a real possibility of a string of collapses in Europe next summer, with the economic consequences hitting in America right in the core of the election season. It would mean, at minimum, another bank bailout for Obama to insist on and Romney to run against. Today, for the first time, if forced to wager, I think I would put a dollar on the Republicans.

    Comment by Rojas — 8/8/2011 @ 7:53 pm

  5. The scenario in which I could possibly see Christie jumping in is in the event of a massive financial collapse, as in the scenario you’re talking about. At that point, he practically gets drafted as the only guy with the cojones and will to cut the holy shit out of government and raise taxes, and wins the nomination, and the presidency.

    I view that as a distinct longshot, though. I think he waits a cycle.

    As far as Obama’s reelection goes, it really depends on whether Romney, comfortable in Perry and Bachmann going at it on his right flank, campaigns in the primary as the technocrat he’s always wanted to run as, or if he gets defensive and tries to run to their right. If the latter, even in the event of continued financial degredation, I think the electorate would prefer the calm hand of Obama, and the adults-in-the-room voters get too spooked to pull the trigger for the GOP.

    Of course, come 2014 and 2016, Republicans smash, in that scenario.

    If though Romney plays the “above the fray” card – and he has no real reason not to, save his inherent squishiness – you’re right, he’s got a shot – in the same way Kerry did in 2004. Probably to the same result.

    Comment by Brad — 8/8/2011 @ 8:02 pm

  6. Ramesh Ponnuru expands on that last thought, literally at the minute I had it.

    Comment by Brad — 8/9/2011 @ 12:15 pm

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