Unless you are a charismatic billionaire with pop-culture celebrity credentials, the chances of any Independent receiving a snowballs chance in hell minute of any News Media coverage, or serious recognition is absolutely nil, zero, nada.
Ron Paul proved that he did the correct thing in 2007-2008 (unlike 1988), because he got his message on TV.
Take myself for example. I had never even heard of Ron Paul before. I was a progressive Democrat rooting for Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel to somehow break through. Instead, Ron Paul's televised performance in the debates was so masterful that it caused a huge sensation, and went viral on the Internet, and catipulated this otherwise unknown and unrecognized congressman into an instant "hit". It was through this that people became drawn into and inspired by his message futher, and his presentation of the issues.
The fundraising and the big following arose from that National exposure -- which Ron Paul never would have gotten otherwise by trying to just retrace his obscure 1988 campaign from which there are no memories, no TV, no following, and no fundraising.
So Ron Paul has to run as a Republican to be treated as "a real candidate" at all on any level, and to get the exposure, and to build from the point where he left off in 2007-2008.
And yes he can win. Iowa and New Hampshire and well known for bucking the Establishment favorite and choosing an underdog, darker horse guy (Huckabee in Iowa in 2008, McCain in N.H. in 2000). So Ron Paul can win if he builds a first-class Campaign infrastructure and organization, and canvasses these States from top-to-bottom.
As it stands now, Paul would probably pick-up 3%-5% as a write-in candidate even if he were not on the ballot. But a serious effort by him will put him into contention this time around. The competition is weak. There is no Bush in the race (Jeb Bush), and if Ron Paul can win in these early states -- it can be hard for the juggernaut to stop.
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