Can Ron Paulís Delegate Strategy Confound Conventional Wisdom?
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Dont count Ron Paul out yet. The Texas Congressman may not have secured any headline-grabbing victories in state primaries and caucuses. He may be trailing in the unofficial delegate counts based on these contests. But he is cheerfully pressing onward, confident that he can keep right on going all the way to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa and possibly even come out of the convention the GOPs nominee for President.
Even among Pauls most ardent supporters, few would now argue that the 76-year-old physician is anything but a long shot for the nomination. Long shots, however, occasionally pay off. And Paul has a strategy that he believes just might produce one of the most unexpected come-from-behind victories in U.S. political history.
The Paul campaign understands what few observers of the political scene and even many players within it realize: A significant number of the state primaries and caucuses covered by the national media as if they determined the Republican nominee are, as the Paul campaign likes to put it, beauty contests that make for an exciting horse race but may have little to do with who ultimately gets the nomination. The media report the popular vote results from a particular state and, unless it is a winner-take-all state, assume that each candidate will receive delegates to the RNC in roughly equal proportion to his share of the popular vote. Thus, reports typically state that Paul has only a tiny fraction of the delegates that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has and that therefore he has no chance of being the GOP nominee.
In fact, says Thomas Mullen of the Washington Times' Communities website, no one knows how many delegates any of the candidates has not even the Republican Party itself. We know that the delegates from winner-take-all states such as Florida will be bound to vote for the winners of their respective states primaries during the first round of voting at the convention. Likewise, in some states (Nevada, for instance), during the first round delegates will be bound to certain candidates on the basis of the popular vote. Beyond that, Mullen writes, very little is certain: