15 votes

Please read: Why a first place finish tonight in Iowa is not as important as you think.

A funny thing happened on the road to the White House last year, back around August, if you all remember.

There we were, poised to win the Ames straw poll, and yet we finished in 2nd... not merely a respectable 2nd but a close 2nd.

Many supporters were outraged. The pundits, who said that it wouldn't matter if Paul won, were relieved. But Paul flew under the radar, while we kept waiting for a surge.

First, it was Bachmann. Then Perry. Then Cain. Then Gingrich. Then finally, three weeks ago, several polls finally showed Paul in the lead and the media couldn't ignore him anymore. What did we learn from this?

Paul surged at just the right time.

But what if he had won Ames? Would he still be in as good a position as he is in now? Judging from the mercurial nature of the electorate and the many frontrunners we've had since August, it's doubtful.

So going into the caucuses tonight, what should you all know?

It's simple.

Obviously, a win is still great, but is 2nd or even 3rd all that bad? Of course not, and the campaign knows that and has planned for it.

Santorum has no chance in hell of winning NH even if he gets 1st or 2nd in IA. He will NOT place in NH. And once he gets the media glare from the frontrunner spotlight, he will perish before SC and the rest of the South can vote. This is key.

The sunbelt states are a FIREWALL for anti-establishment candidates, but Romney might not win them either. So if Santorum falls, who are they going to go to? Gingrich? Perry Bachmann?

Fact is... winner of SC's primary has always been the eventual nominee. That could change this year with changes to the nomination process, but a top 2 finish in SC is still more important than a first place in IA.

But what is the real key to going into SC strong? New Hampshire, of course.

No Republican nominee in modern history has won both the IA caucus and NH. So if Paul had to win one of these contests, which would you choose?

Some facts on NH:

  • 7 of the past 9 GOP winners in contested primaries became the eventual nominee.
  • The lone exceptions to the above were Pat Buchanan in 1996 and John McCain in 2000.
  • This factors into a 78% success in selecting the eventual nominee.
  • 5 out of those 7 candidates WON the presidency.
  • No candidate on the GOP side has won the nomination without 1st or 2nd in NH.

    Compare that to IA where:

  • Of the last 6 contested caucuses on the GOP side, only 3 have become the nominee.
  • That's a success rate of 50% versus NH's 77%.
  • Even adjusting this formula to count a top 2 finish as a prediction still means IA's success rate is 66%.
  • NH's record, with top 2 finishes taken into account, is 100%. That once again re-enforces the notion that a top 2 finish in NH is MANDATORY.

    In conclusion...

    I've gone after a lot of posters here from some truly harebrained ideas and some naive discussion. But that doesn't mean I don't realize how enthusiastic and passionate you all are.

    The professional punditocracy wanted to raise expectations for a Paul finish so that at the very end, they would have a legitimate reason to shut down his insurgent candidacy. They tried this in Ames though, and it didn't work. The stakes are higher this time.

    This campaign has done a great job compensating for Paul's weaknesses and drawing attention to his strong points most of the time. I have no doubt in my mind anymore that they have planned for what they need to do no matter where they end up tomorrow, and I will support them no matter what.

    But don't take your eyes off the ball. This isn't about IA or even NH. This is very much a fluid process. Above all, if there's one thing you come away with from this post, it's don't get discouraged.

    Here's hoping the new year will go down as America's 2nd revolution.

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    Enlightening Analysis

    I agree that South Carolina is crucial and fortunately we've got over 240,000 Super Brochures on the way to help us secure a victory there.

    No matter what though folks, this is all mere speculation. We need to be able to keep it up no matter what outcomes we will face in the next 2 months.

    Remember: this election isn't about Dr. Paul, it's about his message. Even if we lose, we need to be able to keep up the fight for Liberty. Once awakened you are obligated to espouse the truth.

    "Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books...Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: 'I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't. I can. And my children will."

    -Jimmy Stewart

    Yes, I concur. There are more

    Yes, I concur. There are more pathways to the nomination than the one I have laid out; this race is already remarkably fluid, and it's a pretty good bet we haven't seen anything yet.

    Even if we don't succeed in getting Paul the nom (I know, it's almost blasphemy to suggest that), it's imperative we force the GOP to recognize our concerns.

    If we can force Romney or whoever else the nominee is into supporting an anti-war, pro-civil liberties platform, while electing more constitutional candidates to Congress, that will warrant a victory lap all the same.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    Bump this post!

    Would like to hear the OPs thoughts on how Ron can close the widening gap with Romney in New Hampshire, especially if he doesn't place first in Iowa.

    I would also caution that Ron Paul is a very unique candidate for the presidency, and traditional calculations might not apply. Specifically, the fact that the entire political establishment, news media and punditocracy are dead set against his candidacy like none other in living memory makes it essential that he outperform expectations. At least, that's my sense.

    I thank you for the kind words.

    And for the bump. In response to your request, the truth is I'm not sure if Paul CAN close the gap in NH at all. Now that we know Paul came in 3rd in IA, there probably isn't a lot that can be done at this time, but that does NOT mean we should write NH off.

    Santorum will not place in NH because his base is not as transferable there as it is in the south. But the irony is, for him to get to the South, he needs to have a good showing in NH (see McCain in 2000, 2008, when the establishment-outsider dynamic was inverse, and the eventual nominee had strong support among evangelicals).

    If he surges, I would be highly suspicious of some sort of foul play, but I want to make clear I don't mean the nefarious, "vote-rigging" kind some people around here are thinking of.

    I would also caution that Ron Paul is a very unique candidate for the presidency, and traditional calculations might not apply.

    You are the third poster I have replied to that has said this, and I want to acknowledge your concerns. Believe it or not, I DID think of this as well when I wrote this post, but I ultimately cut it out for brevity reasons. Please check my reply to egervari for more on how I think this analysis is still relevant, even with the many changes to the schedule.

    Specifically, the fact that the entire political establishment, news media and punditocracy are dead set against his candidacy like none other in living memory makes it essential that he outperform expectations. At least, that's my sense.

    I'm with you, at least on the punditocracy angle, and I do not doubt there are forces at play here that desperately do not want Paul to win the nomination. Despite that, I have never used that as an excuse, and I have repeatedly cautioned other supporters about blaming the media too much for any lack of success. Even if it IS true, it is only as strong as we acknowledge it and continue to feed the perception of old media outlets as the gatekeepers of information.

    As long as we are on the defensive, trying to get retractions for unjustified attacks or libel, I believe we only set ourselves up for more of the same. Don't mistake me. If you DO see an obviously outrageous slur against Paul, continue lobbying to get it corrected. But let's not go overboard with it.

    Overall, I think if we do this, Paul's campaign will have a much better chance of riding out the tide against it moreso than Pat Buchanan did 1996. Paul's record is more solid than Buchanan, he is far more principled, his support is more intense and larger, conditions are far worse than in 1996, and also Paul's campaign has a plan with much more depth than Buchanan's ever did.

    We cannot be discouraged by one or two setbacks along the way. I'm willing to acknowledge that my analysis may turn out to be completely wrong, but I'm simply doing the very best I can to anticipate future trends based on past and present events. Even if I'm wrong though, this race is highly fluid, and there's more than one way to win the nomination, which is still more than one way that I've laid out here. Thanks for your time.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    I do think Ron would have a much better chance in future contests if his campaign would stop dodging the foreign policy issue and start selling Ron's foreign policy with gusto. See my post here:


    And I agree that we shouldn't get too bogged down worrying about the news media. We just can't let them control the narrative.

    What's important is that we don't get discouraged and quit

    If we lose Iowa, just use that as an excuse to work harder.

    I agree, RP does not need first place in Iowa

    The fact is after Iowa several will drop out. If RP does well, thats all he needs to stay in this. Then on to a win in the other states.

    Perry has already basically

    Perry has already basically dropped out. Bachmann may stick in a little longer; I had previously pegged her and Huntsman to be the first to drop out, but Huntsman's hail mary in NH, and Bachmann's stubborn persistence upended those predictions.

    She may be hoping for a resurgence in time for SC, but I'm not sure how well she can do. If Santorum and her stay in, they may very well divide the evangelical vote, while Romney and Gingrich split the establishment vote.

    Now is the time to begin courting Perry's supporters, as there are no doubt many similarities between Perry and Paul, and even though they haven't exactly been the most chummy at times during the debates, Perry is perhaps the closest ideologically to Paul, barring his neocon foreign policy.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    Thank you for your thoughful post.

    I do believe there is a big difference in this primary compared to previous ones, and that is the number of caucus states before super Tuesday. It is imperative that we do well (win) in all caucus states, since that is our strength. Some other changes in delegate allocation for most states, will effect the duration of the primary process, too. This could be hard campaigning thru June! It won't end on Super Tuesday.

    There was an excellent article written about these differences, but I can't seem to locate it. Can anyone find it?


    First of all, thanks for your kind words, and you DID point out something that I actually wanted to put in my main article, but I was afraid it would run too long.

    You noted, quite correctly:

    I do believe there is a big difference in this primary compared to previous ones, and that is the number of caucus states before super Tuesday.

    This is an excellent point, and something which I discuss at length below in my reply to egervari. I encourage you to read it, but if you choose not to, the summary is that we may in fact see a primary that resembles more of the Democratic races in years' past, which is actually even better news for the campaign.

    I encourage you to read it in full if you have the time.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater


    analysis. However, I want to ask if anyone knows if NH is an open primary. What are the chances that a strong win in Iowa could lead to a win in NH on the surge of independants and crossovers? I would love to know the numbers on this. My heart cannot take the next few months. But one things for sure, I will love to see a 2 man debate between Romney and Paul. Honestly, they could do a lot for themselves to do this. Especially if they talk only about the issues, and not attack each other. I think this would absolutely squash all the underlings.

    You better believe NH is an

    You better believe NH is an open primary. NH is the one of (if not the only) few states with more independents than Democrats AND Republicans. Also important is SC, which has an open primary as well. (In 2008, it wasn't).

    A top 2 in both NH and SC is definitely doable and crucial to this campaign for reasons I have outlined both in my OP and subsequent follow-ups to various posters.

    Can we win either state? I don't know about SC, but NH is probably impossible at this point, with Romney's double-digit lead. Honestly, Romney's true numbers may be INFLATED, if only because the man is more familiar in the Granite State due to its proximity to MA, and the fact that Romney owns a house there.

    Don't be discouraged about the shape of the race so far. That 2-man debate you're eager to see is still within grasp.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    Sounds nice and fluffy..

    but we need this momentum to prove the msm wrong...the only other choice is to prove them right and it goes downhill from there. The campaign has done perfect in concentrating on Iowa and hoping to use it as a catapult for New Hampshire and beyond. This one is for all the cookies I'm afraid.

    I realize that you couldn't

    I realize that you couldn't have known when you wrote this reply that Paul would ultimately come in 3rd, but if you are right, what happens now?

    Does Paul's momentum suddenly tail off? Do we draw back now and toss out the good with the bad? No, we have to roll with the punches.

    There's a whole litany of other cliches I can use, but they all make the same point. If you were't willing to quit on Paul before, what would it take to change that? Surely not 3rd place in Iowa right?

    The only way to "prove [the media] right" as you put it would be if they succeeded in dampening our enthusiasm. That is why, yes, by your own words, this post DOES end on a largely nice and fluffy note.

    But I would take issue with that characterization on the whole of my post.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    I really like your analysis.

    I really like your analysis. I really do. But this election will NOT resemble any of the previous elections at all. For one, the electoral process is drastically different. This actually benefit us, but it also means looking at past elections is less reliable.

    On top of this, the media isn't with our candidate. In fact, they are totally against our candidate - and that's never going to change.

    The establishment (i.e. polling companies, fox news, etc.) is also not with our candidate either.

    I think all of this changes everything.

    I also don't think Ames is indicative of this caucus. This is the real thing. I think winning it, despite all the negative media coverage would help us more than hurt ultimately. It would say that we have a VERY strong candidate to survive that, because none of the others managed to survive it.

    Just so you know, I didn't

    Just so you know, I didn't have room in my first post for a lot of the concerns you raise, but I still want to address them. Hence, this is probably a post in itself. Please stay with me here.

    I really like your analysis. I really do. But this election will NOT resemble any of the previous elections at all.

    I am well aware of the many variables in place that could take this thing all the way to a brokered convention in Tampa... or the closest to a brokered convention since 1976.

    But that, I think, does not invalidate a number of the things I brought up. Yes, Paul does have more traditionally Democratic strengths running in his favor, including:

  • Running to challenge a Dem. incumbent.
  • A more progressive platform, to the left of Obama on foreign policy and social issues.
  • A grassroots apparatus reminiscent of Obama's ground game in 2008.

    What does this mean? Only that the race may hedge closer to past Democratic contests in years past than Republican ones.

    So, with that said, let's say my former analysis was, at best, only a baseline assumption, judging upon Republican primaries of the past. You might then ask how well NH has predicted the Democratic nominee from the top 2 finishers. And the answer would be....a perfect 12-for-12. Just like the GOP side, it's 100%.

    What's important about this is that the Democratic primary has a larger sample size than even the GOP primary, because there have been more Democratic nominees challenging Republican presidents in the last 40+ years.

    Also, we might take heart in the Democratic primaries of 1968 and 1980, seeing as how both those election years either resulted or nearly resulted in a brokered convention, both more recently than the 1964 and 1976 conventions on the GOP side.

    So once again, New Hampshire is still very much important. And I stick by what I said earlier: you can't simply write off a victory in NH (or even a strong 2nd place) the way you can a caucus state.

    Let me be clear on this: the whole "media isn't with our candidate" line is not one I make excuses for. Is there some truth to it? Perhaps, but even if that were true, the same criticisms of Paul's caucus support was levied at both Obama and Huckabee. Sure enough, Huckabee's caucus momentum didn't get him through Super Tuesday.

    But Obama's did. And again, if we're using the Democratic race as a second baseline, Paul's caucus support is still definitely going to be a factor. But any primary wins are not going to be so easily discredited, as much as the media would like to do so.

    This is where what I said about South Carolina is still valid. SC's primary (which is open, IIRC), will be much more winnable than it would have been in 2008. And who won SC in 2008? Barack Obama.

    A darkhorse SC victory is totally possible, and undeniably important for the reasons I laid out above. As another commenter said, the fact that many of the caucuses have been moved before SC HELPS our campaign's momentum.

    The one thing that I'm surprised you did not mention was the importance of Florida in the primary scheme. Like New Hampshire and South Carolina, Florida is a HUGE gamechanger, even if its delegate count and electoral clout may have been hampered in the past year.

    Surely, if Paul won FL, it would be all over. Can he do so? I don't know, but this is one thing that I'd be planning for a big letdown if I were you. With that in mind, if it isn't a 2 or 3-man race by then, my analysis will likely die. I am taking a huge gamble here by saying that Paul can survive without FL.

    But obviously, FL holds a load of significance still. It is the earliest state with a high population with demographics tricky for Paul to win over. I can't see them polling much better than they did in 2008. Yet, as you said, in a year where the electoral calendar is vastly different, I'm betting Ron Paul can survive Florida without a first place win.

    So if anyone wondering about the omission of Florida was also questioning whether my analysis was too conformative with 2008, here's your answer. This should prove it's a definitive no.

    Tonight, we know two things we didn't just 24 hours ago.Mitt Romney is poised to do what no Republican has done for the first time -- barring a huge upset-- in winning both IA and NH. It hasn't been done on the GOP side before... but it's been done as recently as 2004 by the Democrats

    So one precedent has already been broken.

    What else can we look forward to? Several states have actually moved their primaries BACK to their original date to restore balance to the electoral schedule.

    What does this mean? Unlike the Democratic primaries of WV, SD, and MT, the GOP primary season ends with California, New Jersey, and Utah.

    Of the last 4 times there were brokered conventions or nearly-brokered conventions, California played a major role, voting not for the establishemt frontrunner in Rockefeller, Humphrey, Ford, or Carter, but the leading insurgents Goldwater, Kennedy (Robert), Reagan, and Kennedy (Ted).

    This is again of great importance and only improves our chances of a brokered convention, moreso than the Democratic nomination fight in 2008. Yet another way how this analysis actually anticipates the changes to the electoral schedule.

    With all this put together, I'd like to think that, depending on how much influence is staked on Florida, that Paul's best-case scenario is a brokered convention a la Goldwater in 1964. And ironically enough, the road map to do this will mean he has to pull from various campaigns of yesteryear in order to do this, including: Obama, Hilary Clinton, John McCain, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater.

    Can he do it? Absolutely. But the keys remain the same.

    He MUST place top 2 in New Hampshire.

    He MUST place top 2* in South Carolina.

    He MUST keep doing well in caucuses, and accruing smaller delegate counts.

    I believe the campaign has already accounted for all this analysis already.

    * = 3 at the very worst.

  • Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater


    For the past two days at least Paul has been running an ad in New Hampshire saying Mitt Romney is a liberal, hitting things like TARP, the stimulus, and Romneycare. It's from the campaign with an authorization tag by Ron on the end. I haven't seen the TV ad, just the radio version. (I'm a radio person, NOT a TV person.)

    New Hampshire and Ecuador.

    sharkhearted's picture

    Well said!

    Excellent post!

    This movement is much bigger and more organized and has MUCH more gravitas than in 2008.

    My blinders are off (I voted with a grudge for McCain last election).

    Its Ron Paul or bust, baby! I am excited for the future. NOTHING can stop a good idea...whose time has come.

    Norfolk, VA

    Norfolk, VA

    Time to INVESTIGATE the investigators of 9/11. PROSECUTE the prosecutors. EXPOSE the cover-up.

    Even if he takes second he still has my vote no matter what

    I don't see him losing unless they cheat somehow. Oh BTW Iowa has picked some very prominent winners and long shots that went on to take the presidency.

    Patriot Cell #345,168
    I don't respond to emails or pm's.
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

    An added footnote.

    The more astute readers may challenge my numbers on comparing IA's and NH's success rate and overall strategic importance on gaining the nomination. I feel I have anticipated many of their concerns already, but if they were not in the main post, it is probably because the OP was becoming too long as it is.

    However, I can't think of everything, so if there is something that helps me to make an even more compelling case, I'd like to hear it.

    One point I've already thought of...

    The sample size for NH's win rate is considerably larger than IA's, as NH's "first-in-the-nation" status has had more staying power since 1948 than IA, which only gained "first-in-the-nation" status in 1976 (with Republicans).

    Therefore, even if we match sample size, IA's conversion range is still just 50-66%. NH's is still 66-100%.

    That, coupled with its strategic importance despite electoral shifts and nomination adjustments over the past 60 years, only demonstrates how crucial momentum from NH will be.

    The punditocracy cannot write off a top 2 finish in NH, especially if it's close.

    Never forget:

    To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable.

    - Barry Goldwater

    I agree with this. We've

    I agree with this.

    We've still got the other caucus states to look forward to.

    Only the acceptance of the truth can defeat systemic evil.

    I agree!

    I just wish we could "educate" people on what Mormonism really means, what their real beliefs are. I don't care what any mole says here. It's important for people to know. I realize we can't do TV ADS or anything direct like that, but there MUST be some way the electorate, especially the CHRISTIAN ELECTORATE, know about this. And, I don't mean to bash Mormons. Not at all. But, the truth of what Romney believes, if he has nothing to be ashamed of, then, who cares, right?


    I know, I'm Christian, and their beliefs were a shocker to me.

    sharkhearted's picture

    Stop the bigoted religious comments please

    Your comments don't help the cause of liberty. Leave a person's religion out of this!
    Its frankly none of your business.

    Norfolk, VA

    Norfolk, VA

    Time to INVESTIGATE the investigators of 9/11. PROSECUTE the prosecutors. EXPOSE the cover-up.

    I strongly disagree with

    I strongly disagree with this. I have known many mormons, and they have all been good people. I don't think one's religion, unless it condones violence or some other extreme deviance aimed at others, is a fair basis for attack.

    Mormonism- Islam for westerners

    Not much difference between the two. In the end the men get all the women AND their own planet. Though on a technical point I'm not sure if the planets they get have oil on them. That could be a problem.

    sharkhearted's picture

    Bigoted, primitive, backwards, broad-brush groupthink

    Their (Mormon's) religion...is none of your ****** business. Your comments don't help the cause of liberty.

    Its that type of bigoted, primitive, backwards, broad-brush statements that start wars and distrust between decent people.

    Sounds like you are on the wrong website!

    I think you are looking for bachmann.com or santorum. com

    I am sure they would welcome you with open arms.

    Ron Paul 2012!

    Norfolk, VA

    Norfolk, VA

    Time to INVESTIGATE the investigators of 9/11. PROSECUTE the prosecutors. EXPOSE the cover-up.

    Real intelligent RS

    Real intelligent RS