March 6, 2012
Today’s Super Tuesday primaries give Ron Paul a rare chance to shine. There are 49 delegates up for grabs in Virginia, and Paul is the only candidate to have filed against Mitt Romney. How well he does will be the first real field test of the Paulite constituency.
The libertarian is playing down his chances. He says that he’s looking instead for a strong performance in Alaska, Idaho or North Dakota. All of them are caucuses in small states, so it’s easier to out-organise the opposition and leverage his activist muscle into a victory. This was the Ron Paul strategy from the very beginning. He never expected to win anything in the early rounds (except, perhaps, Iowa). Instead, he hoped to pull in a consistent 20 to 30 percent of the vote in every contest – snagging the odd caucus here and there.
If he’s never seemed depressed in interviews by his results thus far, it’s because everything is sort of going to plan. The only real disappointment was Maine, which he stood a chance of winning. Otherwise, Paul is exploiting the new rules that apportion delegates according to one’s share of the vote.
So long as Romney, Gingrich and Santorum split the “big government” conservative bloc, Dr Paul can remain competitive with that consistent, nay stubborn, 20 to 30 percent. He can go to a divided convention with enough support to have an impact upon the platform and perhaps even shape the ticket itself. Whatever happens in 2012, Paul’s impact on the GOP will last for years. The recent election of AJ Spiker, a Paulite, as chairman of the powerful Iowa Republican Party is a case in point.