My Christmas Gift to You

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I can think
of no better Christmas gift to offer LRC readers than evidence that
Ron Paul is likely to be the next president.

So, for the
sake of those who, unlike me, have had better things to do since
January than to spend at least an hour every day reading about Ron
Paul, here's a look at where things stand now, less than two weeks
before the primary and caucus season begins.

Fundraising

The Dec. 16
Tea Party "money bomb" brought in just over $6 million,
bringing Dr. Paul's fourth quarter total to about $18.5 million,
as of today.

For comparison,
here are the candidates' numbers for the third quarter, with the
second quarter totals in parenthesis to indicate trends:

  • Giuliani:
    $10,258,019 (Q2: $17.6 million)
  • Romney:
    $9,896,719 — not counting loans he made to himself from his personal
    fortune (Q2: $20.1 million)
  • Thompson:
    $9,750,821 (Not an official candidate in Q2)
  • McCain:
    $5,734,478 (Q2: $11.6 million)
  • Paul: $5,258,456
    (Q2: $2.4 million)
  • Huckabee:
    $1,034,486 (Q2: $766,000)

As you can
see, except for Huckabee — who had a modest gain, and Thompson —
who wasn't yet a candidate, all of the candidates besides Paul saw
their donations decline significantly from the second quarter to
the third; Romney's and McCain's declined by more than 50%.

Paul is the
only Republican to provide real-time fundraising data on his site,
which alone probably indicates that the other candidates’ totals
this quarter are embarrassing compared to his.

However, based
on the candidates' previous quarter donation totals and trends,
and on current news snippets and rumors about fundraising, we can
speculate about where Paul's current total puts him in the race.

It's safe
to assume that everyone besides Paul and Huckabee will raise less
this quarter than they did in the third. To be conservative, let's
assume they'll raise about the same. Even then, Paul has almost
certainly raised at least double the total of the next-highest fundraiser,
and at least as much as the next two combined.

Huckabee is
probably raising more this quarter than last, but his fundraising
is rumored to still be anemic.

News reports
indicate that Thompson is nearly broke. He has recently canceled
a lot of TV and direct mail ads in Iowa and is already making the
first contest his last stand, planning to spend the next two weeks
touring Iowa on a bus in hopes of a top-three finish. If he comes
in lower than third, which is likely, he’s probably finished.

Rumors have
been circulating for a couple of weeks that Giuliani is nearly broke
too. Plus his original strategy of giving up the early states and
concentrating on bigger, more delegate-rich states (while one or
two of his opponents fall by the wayside), beginning with a win
in Florida on January 29 to propel into Super Tuesday on February
5, is likely to fail. For one thing, his poll standing in those
big states is imploding; he’s down to third place in Florida. It
appears he’s rethinking his strategy and may make a play for the
early states, but it’s probably too late. He may wind up like Lieberman,
who was shoved down everyone’s throat by the Establishment in 2003
as the presumptive nominee, only to not win one primary in 2004.

McCain has
been coasting on fumes financially for six months, despite repeated
attempts by the Establishment to resurrect his campaign.

Romney will
never run out of money because he’s personally worth more than $200
million, but that’s the only reason he wasn’t bankrupt and out of
the race months ago; he finished the previous quarter with more
than $8 million in debt — nearly as much as his cash-on-hand. He’s
probably in the strongest position to get the nomination besides
Paul; his support is as soft and manufactured as the other anointed
candidates, but he may be the only one besides Paul who has the
money to last past the first few states.

Regarding
Huckabee, three
months ago
, I speculated that Alan Keyes had been recruited
into the race by the GOP Establishment to help muddle up the debates
and deflect attention from Paul. The anointing of Huckabee as a
real contender, magically rising more than 20 points in Establishment
polls in just the past 2–3 weeks, shows that I grossly underestimated
the Establishment’s predicament. Not only was there still no clear
front-runner with just a few weeks to go, but what support the anointed
candidates had earlier in the year was softening even further, so
the Establishment has had to elevate Huckabee. But he’s as weak
a candidate as ever, and he still has little grassroots support
and is rumored to have little money.

In addition
to its superior fundraising, the Paul campaign has the added financial
advantage of relying mostly on volunteers and spontaneous, bottom-up
support. That and Dr. Paul's record of integrity and judicious spending
mean they're not wasting money like the other campaigns, that almost
every dollar is spent to get votes, rather than to make work for
political hacks.

After the
tipping point on November 5th, I began to wish that Paul had begun
his campaign one quarter earlier; assuming everything else would've
happened the same, that would've made Q3 the breakout quarter, with
Q4 to build it further before the primaries. However, the upside
of the timing is that the mainstream expectations for Paul in the
elections are still low overall, which means he still has nowhere
to go but up.

Paul is clearly
the tortoise in the race, and his financial standing is looking
very, very good.

Polling

It's likely
that Paul's poll numbers are unrealistically low for reasons that
have been discussed at length this year, on this site and elsewhere,
such as: Far fewer people with landlines, especially if they're
young; people with caller ID not answering their phones; and Paul
pulling support from Democrats, Independents, third-party members,
people previously apolitical, and people too young to vote in 2004.

Amazingly,
some polling companies still aren’t even offering Paul as an option.
One Paul supporter recorded a call he received from a major pollster
and put the audio on YouTube. The recording offered the top five
“legitimate” choices, followed by instructions to press six for
“other.” When he pressed six, the computer informed him that he
wouldn’t be called again.

The latest
poll from USA Today/Gallup even shows Keyes with the same
support as Paul, with 3%! Does anyone really believe that Paul only
has 3%; that Keyes even has 3%; or that, whatever Paul’s real level
of support is, Keyes in his wildest dreams has even 1% of that?

While I realize
that there is a methodology and polls aren’t entirely worthless
or made up, when I compare Paul’s campaign to his poll numbers,
I’m starting to think the term “scientific poll” should be replaced
with “arbitrary numbers that have absolutely no connection whatsoever
to reality.” (Incidentally, Kerry was at 4% at this point in 2003
— behind even Al Sharpton and lower than Paul is now, while Gephardt,
Lieberman and Dean were far ahead; Kerry won Iowa and New Hampshire
and knocked all three of them out of the race almost immediately.
This
article by Murray Sabrin
underscores my point; it’s a good look
at Iowa and why Paul supporters shouldn't be discouraged by polls.)

But, for informational
purposes, here are the most recent poll numbers:

Nationally,
Paul is averaging about 5%; the
list of recent polls is available here
.

The state-by-state
polls are
available here
. Paul is averaging about 7% in Iowa and New Hampshire,
which puts him ahead of McCain (6%) in Iowa and far ahead of Thompson
(3%) in New Hampshire.

Caucus &
Primary Schedule and Nomination Information

(Please understand
that I'm not trying to insult anyone by offering such basic information;
my intention is to provide a one-stop article with all of the pertinent
information regarding where the Paul campaign stands at this point.
I was unclear about all of these details myself until I researched
them.)

The Republican
National Convention will be held from September 1–4, 2008, in Minneapolis/St.
Paul.

Delegates
are assigned to each state based on the state's population; the
process is complicated, but the (admittedly oversimplified) gist
of it is the candidates accumulate a percentage of the stateu2018s delegates
in some states proportionally to the percentage of the vote they
receive in that state, while other states have a winner-take-all
system, where the winner gets all of the delegates and the runners-up
get none. There are 2,516 delegates at stake in 2008, and a simple
majority of 1,259 delegates is required to secure the nomination.

Some states
have primaries, while others have caucuses. The difference is a
primary is a standard election where voters just go to the polls,
whereas a caucus is like a mini-convention, where voters gather,
socialize and hear speeches before voting. Today, most states have
primaries.

Turnout for
either type is always abysmally low, but turnout for caucuses is
even worse because it requires a several hour commitment, rather
than a few minutes to vote in a primary. The first contest, in Iowa
on January 3, is a caucus, so that bodes extra well for Paul, whose
supporters are by far the most likely to show up and sit through
a bunch of boring speeches in order to vote.

Here’s the
schedule:

  • Jan. 3:
    Iowa Caucuses
  • Jan. 8:
    New Hampshire Primary
  • Jan. 15:
    Michigan Primary
  • Jan. 19:
    Nevada Caucus & South Carolina Primary
  • Jan. 29:
    Florida Primary
  • Feb. 2:
    Maine Caucus

The next date
with contests is Feb. 5, which has been dubbed “Super Tuesday” because
20 states are having their primaries or caucuses that day. The nominee
will likely be determined that day.

That is, assuming
someone emerges with enough delegates to go into the convention
with the nomination. A number of astute political observers have
done the math and say that a brokered convention is fairly likely.
One of the wrinkles in my oversimplified explanation of the delegate
process is that over 25% of the delegates are not elected by the
voters, but are controlled by party leaders. If it’s possible for
things to shake out in such a way that Paul needs the votes of those
“super delegates,” and they have the option of getting a different
nominee by throwing their support behind someone else with fewer
voter-received delegates than Paul, they might do it, making this
the first convention since the beginning of the television era (the
last time this happened for the Republicans was 1948; for the Democrats,
1952) that’s more than a very, very expensive, taxpayer-funded sideshow.

Even if there
is a brokered convention, I wouldn’t discount Paul. For one thing,
the media will have no choice but to cover him after he emerges
as a contender, which means he’ll have another seven months to lobby
for support going into the convention. Even in the face of a near-total
mainstream media blackout this year, the Ron Paul Revolution has
proven unstoppable. There’s no reason to expect it to slow down
if he emerges as one of two or three contenders for the nomination,
where he will remain with incessant media coverage for seven straight
months.

The Media

While Paul’s
fundraising has gotten him more media attention than he’d received
previously, and some — like Jim Cramer and Glenn Beck — almost sucked
up to him when previously the would’ve been hostile, he’s still
receiving a tiny fraction of the attention the anointed front-runners
are receiving, and much of it is still derisive.

The second
I found out in January that Paul was considering running, I knew
the mainstream media would ignore him as much as possible.

But why are
they continuing that strategy when the evidence is all around them
that it’s failing miserably, that they can’t distort reality the
way they could prior to the Internet? Inertia? Denial?

They have
to know ignoring him isn’t working, but my guess is they just don’t
know what else to do. They, and — more importantly — their owners,
to whose vested interests the Paul movement is a deadly threat,
are sitting, paralyzed with fear and confusion. They tried ignoring
him and it didn’t work. They tried laughing at him and it didn’t
work. They tried attacking him and it didn’t work, largely because
Paul’s character is so beyond reproach that probably not one person
in 10,000 could match it, so what little they were able to dredge
up was embarrassingly weak (like Paul receiving a $500 donation
from a white supremacist, as if Paul is responsible for that and
should personally do a background check on each of his thousands
of donors; as if Paul had ever espoused such views; or as if such
unsavory donors couldn't be found for any other candidate). So what
else is there to do but to try and not think about the problem,
to try not to draw attention to him, and to pray for the best?

But it won’t
work.

While I never
would’ve dreamed that such a thing were possible in January, and
even leaving my personal wishes aside and trying to view the race
as a neutral observer, every indication is that Ron Paul is going
to be the next President of the United States.

More importantly,
the Establishment never dreamed back in January that such a thing
was possible either. Political pundits have been discounting Paul
all year; predictably, in reporting the Tea Party fundraising total,
they continued to use terms like “distant long-shot” for the nomination,
with the requisite “evidence” of one of the few things the Establishment
still (somewhat) controls: the polls. No honest, objective journalist
could look at Paul’s campaign and conclude that he’s anything but
a front-runner, if not the front-runner. You can only be
so biased before even the most unsophisticated person can see through
it.

Establishment
political hacks have been wrong about every single prediction they’ve
made about Paul this year. Why should we believe them now? Like
all of his successes this year, Ron’s victories next month are going
to blindside them.

As Dr. Paul
commented during his rally speech after last month's CNN/YouTube
debate, quoting Victor Hugo, "No army can stop an idea whose
time has come."

PS:

Don’t look
for Christmas gifts from me the next two years. Regardless of what
your calendar says, I expect Christmas to come on November 4 next
year; on December 25, I will have nothing to offer to top it. And
Christmas 2009 will be on January 20. Feel free to mark your calendars
now.

December
22, 2007

Johnny Kramer
[send him mail]
holds a BA in journalism from Wichita State University and is available
for hire as a writer and copyeditor. See his
website
. He writes from Wichita, KS.

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