As far fetched as it sounds, Ron Paul can actually win the Republican nomination in 2012 and change history. Step One: Win the Iowa Straw Poll in 2011.
Well, this is a multi-post memorandum and some of what I have to say I won’t be saying publicly at all – because it is proprietary. So what I will say, is what is obvious, and what the experts in opposition research for any of Ron Paul’s opponents already know and have already considered and already told their principals, okay? No secrets here. But, believe me, this will be educational. So here we go…
For Ron Paul, it all comes down to the Iowa Straw Poll, what used to be called “The Cavalcade,” a political popularity contest, which will be held next in Ames, Iowa the summer of 2011, before the primary season begins in 2012. This event is used as a Republican fundraiser for the Iowa State GOP.
Ron Paul should not be distracted by the other straw polls, raise several million dollars and throw it all into the pot to win this contest. Every volunteer, every employee, every relative, every dollar should be focused on a win at the Cavalcade. It all should roll on the dice in Ames.
You may point out that G. H. W. Bush won the Poll in 1980 but Reagan won the nomination and the presidency. Pat Robertson won the Poll in 1988 but G. H. W. Bush won the nomination and the presidency. Mitt Romney won the Poll in 2008 but John McCain won the GOP nomination.
But this time, with this candidate, the circumstances are different.
1.) Ron Paul needs to win something meaningful if he is to awaken that vast pool of latent supporters who agree with his positions but doubt the efficacy of his candidacy.
2.) Because this win, as opposed to other straw polls and early contests, will transport his message and his candidacy into national prominence.
3.) Because it is far easier and less expensive to win the Iowa Straw Poll that it is to win any of the Caucuses and Primaries that follow. They only get tougher after this one. But winning it will trigger the flow of money and allow him to compete in the others. Losing, or coming in fifth, will end any real chances for his candidacy.
4.) Because the Straw Poll is such a small universe that the spending of money beyond a certain threshold will be redundant and ineffective. And Ron Paul can meet that threshold, which neutralizes the money factor entirely.
5.) Because winning this event is not only about money, it is about organization. No matter how much money you have you still have to have real live people with Iowa driver’s licenses. Ron Paul’s followers are true believers, activists, who are much more likely to work in Iowa earlier than the followers of Palin, Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich or others, who are essentially just in it for the horse race. Why not put this Ron Paul advantage to work?
Sure, there are no delegates from the Straw Poll, but the lift is enormous and there is the possibility, with this lift, to win it all. It is an old formula made famous by Jimmy Carter, who used the Democratic Jackson Day straw vote in the summer of 1975 as his launching pad for his surprise dark horse victory in 1976. And it is a perfect fit for Ron Paul and his followers.
Like past winners of the Iowa Straw Poll he will likely appear on the cover of TIME and NEWSWEEK, which in itself will pay back a couple of the million dollars spent on the event, and for the next few months he will be considered the front runner for the coming Iowa Caucus in January, if not the front runner for the nomination itself.
The beauty of winning the Poll is the long time between it and the next big event. The Poll is in the late summer of 2011. The Iowa caucus comes in January, 2012, followed within a week by New Hampshire and thereafter by one primary after another. Say for example that Sarah Palin makes a comeback from the Poll and wins the Iowa Caucus in January; she has only a few days to enjoy her lead for fundraising purposes. If Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich beat her in New Hampshire they only enjoy their frontrunner status for a few days before Mike Huckabee or Bobbie Jindal ambushes them in South Carolina.
But remember, there are no delegates from the Poll. So the idea is to win it and use the victory and status to raise a ton of money, which translates into winning the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary back to back in January.
Can it be done? That is, can Ron Paul translate a win in a straw vote in Iowa into something more? Well, that will depend on the money raised afterward. But remember, if he wins, for almost half a year he will be able to raise money while the other candidates will have to explain their loss.
“Yes, he won the Iowa Straw Poll,” Mike Huckabee will say, “but that is because he has a small cadre of devoted followers but he cannot go all the way.” Chuckle, chuckle, “Remember Mitt Romney won the Cavalcade last time and I won the Iowa Caucus and we both got beat by John McCain.”
Sarah Palin will say, “Yes, he won the Poll in Iowa but he is fifth in the national polls and I am leading. He can win a small contest but he can’t win a big one.”
They will all have their rationale for losing but it sure would be nice to be the winner, this time, the one who doesn’t need all those excuses.
There is more. If Ron Paul wins this Poll he will become the darling of the national media during these crucial five months of campaigning and fundraising. Yes, you heard me. The media will be amused by the Ron Paul surge, just as they enjoyed the Pat Buchanan insurgency against a GOP incumbent in the White House in 1992. Why? Because, like Buchanan, they will see Ron Paul as unwinnable in a general election. They will believe that Ron Paul is a safe nominee to face their beloved Barack Obama, who by then will be the second coming of FDR in American newsrooms. Ron Paul’s victory in the Iowa Straw Poll will be trumpeted to the highest heavens and he will be given every advantage. At least during the nominating process. But it will all depend on winning in Ames.
But don’t all the other candidates know that too? Can’t they do the same? Yes and no. They have different assets, priorities and needs. For example, Rudolph Giuliani skipped Iowa altogether because it is an Evangelical state and he would have been quizzed about his personal life. Mitt Romney poured in a ton of money and was in the lead but saw that lead evaporate as Evangelicals slipped away from him, probably because he was Mormon, to support Mike Huckabee, one of their own.
If you review the list of five reasons above you will see that neither Palin nor Huckabee nor Romney nor anyone else would benefit as much as Ron Paul from a Straw Poll win. Ron Paul is the leader of a movement, he offers a different option altogether, whereas Palin and Huckabee and others will simply be in a personality contest. If they win in Ames, it is only one of many more contests to follow. If Ron Paul wins in Ames, he awakens a whole political movement.
Then there is the mighty mistress of American politics…. expectations. Ron Paul would be a sensation, the talk of the country, because his emergence would be a surprise to the mainstream. For example, Palin and Huckabee would not benefit as much from a NEWSWEEK of TIME cover story because they have already had them and they probably will have had them again before the Cavalcade. Heck, Ron Paul garnered some headlines in 2007 when he came in fifth in that contest. A win would be big news.
And what about that all important Iowa Evangelical vote? This time, Huckabee and Palin, both Evangelicals, might have to split that vote, along with a resurrected Newt Gingrich and even a popular, born again Christian, Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, who may not even enter the Straw Poll because his re-election as governor is in the fall of 2011.
Anyway, Ron Paul will get a big chunk of those Evangelical voters because I am going to help him, if he wants it. He is Christian, pro-life, married to the same wife forever and he wants the government out of our lives, believe me, it will work. And I know how to win that vote big.
For a history of the born again vote see: http://dougwead.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/the-history-of-the-evangelical-vote-in-presidential-elections/
So how does Ron Paul harness his army and raise the money to win the Iowa Cavalcade? And if he won, where would he go from there? That discussion is coming in future posts. All I know is this… if Ron Paul can raise $32 million and get 15,000 people to buy tickets to his convention in Minneapolis after the nomination was already decided, then he has a very real chance of winning in the small universe of Ames, Iowa in 2011 and that win, my friends, would catapult him and his movement into the stratosphere.
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