The Iowa caucuses are due on January 3rd, less than two months away, and it’s no longer premature to look at the current state of the Republican field and speculate as to who might win. While you might assume that the likes of Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, who soak up much of the mainstream media coverage, are on course for a two-way tussle, there’s growing momentum being Ron Paul, and this could deliver him victory in Iowa and, as a result, a more prominent place in the media spotlight.
Robert Naiman points out that based on current indicators, it would take a relatively small swing from current voting intentions for Ron Paul to carry the caucuses. And if there’s one thing that Ron Paul’s supporters are particularly good at, it’s mobilising voters to turn out. In fact, Naiman’s suggestion that a little over 13,000 new voters are needed would seem to suggest that Ron Paul is in a very strong position heading to Iowa.
And what would a Ron Paul victory in Iowa do to the overall Republican campaign? It might push the candidate into a position where he can no longer be ignored by the mainstream media, or by his own party. I don’t think you have to be a Ron Paul supporter (I’m not!) to be able to see that for whatever reason – his age, his views, his opposition to certain neocon policies – Paul has been shunned by the core of the Republican party.
If you look at the vigour with which the likes of Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman and now, somewhat implausibly, Newt Gingrich, have been touted as potential rivals to (the still underwhelming) Mitt Romney, it’s hard to avoid thinking that no such vigour has been applied to Ron Paul when he is, objectively, probably the most viable alternative to Romney in the current Republican field. People have been saying this for months, but Iowa might be Ron Paul’s best – and last – chance to change the course of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign.