01-24-2014, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Rand Paul Is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner
Don't laugh. He has built-in advantages in Iowa and New Hampshire, a party moving in his direction, and formidable fundraising potential.
- All along, the theory behind Christie's candidacy was that he could overcome his lack of conservative bona fides with a combination of personality, competence, electability, and money. Bridgegate undermines all four.
- So if Christie is no longer the candidate to beat in the 2016 Republican race, who is? Believe it or not, it’s Rand Paul.
- Bush used the political network his father built, he enjoyed many of the benefits of someone who had run before. It’s the same with Paul. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, he begins with an unparalleled infrastructure left over from his father Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
- “Rand has a much broader appeal than his father,” Robinson says. Polls reflect that: A survey last December for the Des Moines Register found Paul with a lower unfavorability rating among Iowa Republicans than either Christie or Jeb Bush.
- If Paul is, arguably, the early leader in Iowa, he may be the early frontrunner in New Hampshire as well. While Ron Paul placed third in Iowa in 2012, he placed second in New Hampshire, losing only to Mitt Romney
- “If you whited out his name, and looked at his numbers,” Scala says of Paul, “you’d think he was a strong mainstream candidate.”
- Paul looks like a better bet than anyone else to finish in the top two in both Iowa and New Hampshire. If he did, he’d establish himself as the leading anti-establishment candidate in the GOP field.
- Of course, the more early success Paul enjoyed, the more fervently some GOP elites—unnerved by his anti-interventionist foreign-policy views and potential weakness in a general election—would rally around someone else. Such efforts have worked in the past.
- Paul will never be the darling of the GOP establishment. But Republican elites may have a difficult time in forging a unified front against him.
- If there’s one thing that could obviate all this, it’s the possibility that Paul could suffer his own candidacy-crippling scandal.
- But even taking that possibility into account, Paul is in a stronger position than many in the media recognize. On issues from NSA surveillance to drug legalization to gay marriage, the GOP is moving in his direction. For his part, Paul is gaining acceptance within the Republican mainstream.
- There’s no way of knowing at this point, of course. But political commentators are making a big mistake if they disregard the chance.