“Ron Paul may win in Iowa, but he will never be the republican nominee, so then the important thing will be who came second”, a Fox news “Republican Polling Strategist” reports.
Not that a single one of us would be surprised by this line of reportage. But it’s interesting that the message has started circulating three weeks from the big day.
Amongst the thousands of hours of television news devoted to discussing the likely outcome of the iowa Caucuses, Ron Paul receives little positive coverage. In recent days the media has started telling us that Ron Paul may “surprise” in Iowa. They’ve given themselves an out.
But then on Fox News a panel of republican insider strategists spoke at length about the Gingrich vs. Romney showdown and who might take the Iowa prize. It was critical that a strong showing be made in Iowa. Iowa is, apparently, a true guide to the thinking of the average american, so Gingrich beating Romney would be a huge filip for his campaign. Blah blah blah.
Then with a distinct look of disgust on his face the polling strategist was asked to comment on the chances of the “surprise” candidate, Ron Paul. (paraphrased) “If Ron Paul wins…. then the person who came second is the winner”.
It’s more evidence that Ron Paul’s going to win Iowa. But if Ron Paul comes second by a handful of votes he may has well have not bothered trying. He will be entirely marginalised as he was after the Ames straw poll. If he wins he cannot be ignored entirely, only cheated of a fair share of positive coverage. But there’s nothing new there.
When Ron Paul wins his victory will be compared to Huckabee’s or Howard Dean’s. Probably both. And when that happens, it may spur another few percent of the majority of Americans who don’t trust the media to move towards Ron Paul.