What If Ron Paul Wins Iowa?
by Ana Marie Cox
Ron Paul is
in a position to pull off an upset in the Iowa caucuses in three
weeks that would have serious ramifications for the Republican party
Thursday night's debate and the caucuses only 21 days away
probably the only person who thinks Newt Gingrich can meet
the high expectations his recent poll and debate performances have
set is Newt Gingrich.
The rest of
the field, and political operatives, are getting ready for a scenario
that just three months ago would have seemed as far-fetched as,
I don't know, Herman Cain being the front-runner: Ron Paul winning
voters, Paul is the only candidate in the top tier (he's in the
top tier!) that has not seen his support rise precipitously and
then erode. Paul is, in fact, the only candidate that has seen
his support simply grow.
base, combined with Paul's Iowa organization unlike Romney
or Gingrich, he has one put Paul in the position to pull
an upset that has the potential to shake-up not just the 2012 race,
but the way the GOP conducts its primaries for years to come.
party, moderates and realists (these groups overlap but are not
exactly the same) have been quietly making the case for years that
Iowa's caucus picks wind up hurting the GOP in general elections.
Though the actual caucus winners are often the eventual nominee,
the social conservatives who wind up doing well in Iowa (winner
Mike Huckabee, and runner-ups Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson) reinforce
stereotypes that younger Republicans especially would like the party
to move away from.
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