Posted by: sweeneyblog | December 19, 2011

If Ron Paul Wins in Iowa, Iowa Loses

Ron Paul in Iowa

Right now, renown internet numbers guru Nate Silver is predicting a 44% chance of Ron Paul winning Iowa. This is seriously impressive, considering the hefty media blackout of his candidacy as a serious contender and the fact that he fundamentally disagrees with a chunk of the Republican base on a number of issues. So what happens if he wins? Is it possible for him to clinch the nomination?

Short answer? No. That isn’t meant as a slight against Ron Paul, but the deck is so heavily stacked against him, he isn’t going to be able to get off the ground. Here’s what happens. Say he wins Iowa. Wonderful. His supporters get riled up and he will raise a cool 1.5 million in donations in the next two days as Libertarians smell a possible victory within their grasp.

Then the media machine gets involved and the narrative will not be pretty. They will not do stories about “The come-from-behind candidate” or “At long last, Paul gets his moment.” The media narrative will be, “Maybe we should do away with the early Iowa Caucus. They nominate such crazy people. Time to reform the primary system.”

The media has a vested interest in supporting candidates that play ball. They want people who look good on television, say controversial things . . . but not enough to rock the boat too much, and bring alot of drama to the table. Ron Paul is a reach too far and therefore, they shut him out. So the media will turn its Sauron-esque gaze to the primary system and change the conversation to how to reschedule Iowa in 2016.

Make no mistake, this is a great conversation to have. I believe we should have a rotating calender of states, so that Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and now Nevada do not settle our presidential primaries. We should chop the country in fourths, pick a state from each area and have primaries there on successive days.

So in 2016, the calendar might look like this: Oregon, Connecticut, Alabama, New Mexico. Next month: Georgia, Maine, Indiana, Colorado.  Then in 2020, you shuffle it around again. Hell, make it a lottery. Whatever the method, move it around so that Iowa Precinct Captains are not the most important political figures in presidential campaigns.

But I’m getting off topic. The point is, while I think Ron Paul has a great message for conservative voters, do not believe the hype. He is only polling 15% in New Hampshire, and less then that in South Carolina. At the end of the race, he will control a handful of delegates. No amount of momentum can be maintained in the face of overpowering media presence.  A sad, but unavoidable truth.



  1. “do away with the early Iowa Caucus. They nominate such crazy people”… what, like Obama?

    This isn’t about Iowa and their weird tastes. If the first state to make a pick was Ohio, then all the candidates would have just spent the last year romancing Ohio instead of Iowa.

    The idea is that the rest of the country gets to find out… when voters really have the time and opportunity to cut through all the media and spin and hype and actually get the possible next president on their doorstep drinking lemonade, who do regular folks wind up really liking?

    The early states really need to be swing states. Iowa usually has one Dem senator and one GOP senator, and has picked either party for electoral votes for president. I would love to see other swing states rotate through, but preferably just the compact ones like Ohio. Florida is too spread out.

    Plenty of Republican voters are secret fans of Ron Paul. Funny things can happen. Obama was polling 14% to Hillary’s 30% for most of 2007, until Barack won the Iowa caucus by 9 points. Only a network of insiders could see what the real math was among the populace, until the real votes happened.

    The main reason that I think you are right about the final result, is that a ton of the people who like Ron Paul, will not vote in the GOP caucus and primary. A major key secret to Obama’s success, was all the non-Democrats who “joined the Dems” at least long enough to get Barack into the nomination. Party insiders by themselves were about 55% Hillary. Yet Ron Paul has not done the kind of networking outreach to drag in enough new non-GOP blood to overthrow the cronyism.

  2. Wake me up when they get to South Carolina. Iowa nominated Huckabee last time, so its a wash if they nominate pretty much anyone other than Romney. Now if Romney finishes *third* in Iowa, I’ll wake up for that. New Hampshire? Who cares?

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