TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: Ron Paul’s path to the nomination
If Ron Paul isn’t mentioned in an article that has some connection to the presidential race, you can be sure that you’ll hear from the Texas congressman’s legion of crazed fanatics.
No matter how irrelevant the story or peripheral it is to Paul, his “passionate” fans will insist that he was excluded because of some media conspiracy to marginalize him.
I concede that it is true that Paul has, in some cases, been treated unfairly by the media. He has been given less time to speak in debates than his polling merited at various points during the campaign.
But conversely, he has also been treated fairer in many cases than the other candidates in the race. So while Paul may get less time to speak during some debates, he is at least in the debate. If there existed a Rick Santorum Survival Report filled with racial invective, Santorum wouldn’t be in the race. The same goes for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
What’s more, Paul was rarely even asked to explain the newsletters and when he gave the lame and completely unbelievable excuse that he had never read those sections, the media largely moved on. (By the way, we now know from reports that that excuse was poppycock.)
So yes, there is a media bias related to Paul — often in his favor.
But at this point in the presidential primary, there is nothing nefarious about not including Paul in every article discussing the race for the Republican nomination. He just isn’t much of a factor, by and large. It is far easier to sketch Newt Gingrich’s path to the nomination — and that’s not an easy task — than Paul’s.
Can anyone actually sketch a path to the nomination for Paul?
Paul has yet to win a state and it is hard to figure out exactly what state he could win. Perhaps he could somehow pull off a win in some caucus in Alaska or somewhere similarly remote and irrelevant. But you don’t win the nomination by coming in fourth, third and occasionally second place in primary after primary. At some point, you actually have to win states.
After sitting down and taking time to really think of any scenario which would have Paul winning the GOP nomination, a path finally dawned on me. If a meteor struck a Republican primary debate and eliminated all of Paul’s fellow contenders except for Paul, perhaps Paul could actually win the nomination — provided ballot deadlines had past for most states, of course.
But if you actually think about it for a second longer, you begin to realize that even in this utterly absurd and unlikely scenario, Paul wouldn’t win the nomination. What would happen is that a mass of Republicans would rally around one or several of the incapacitated candidates still on state primary ballots in order to deny Paul the requisite delegates needed to win the nomination outright. Then a new candidate would be nominated over Paul at the Republican Convention after the first ballot proved inconclusive.
So even if you stretch your imagination to impossible extremes, you can’t sketch a path to the nomination for Paul. Given this, I think we can safely conclude that it is not evidence of some anti-Paul bias to ignore him in certain articles about the Republican nomination. It merely reflects the fact that he has no chance to win it.
In fact, there are people not in the Republican race — Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, for example — that have a better chance to win the nomination than Ron Paul when you take into account the possibility of a brokered or contested convention.
Paul is a message candidate. He denies it but he is too smart to believe his denials. The only people who believe he has any chance at the nomination, much less a good one, are the crazed basement dwellers who look to Paul as their savior.
I hate to be the one to break the news to them, but he doesn’t have a chance. Sorry.