This ability raises concerns over politically unethical sabotage, with Democrats and other non-Republicans being able to intentionally boost their preferred candidate to face President Barack Obama in November.
Concern is particularly focused on the candidacy of libertarian Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is a presidential front-runner in the polls, having established national celebrity following his primary run in 2008. Paul, and his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have touted his popularity among Democrats and independents as proof of his electability in a national race against the president.
On Tuesday, in an article titled “Ron Paul’s wildcard: Iowa progressives?” Mother Jones magazine reported that “Paul’s crossover appeal to liberals attracted to his anti-war platform” may affect the caucuses.
The Mother Jones report cited one Iowa Democrat, Francis Thicke, saying that he “would caucus for Paul on Tuesday ‘to keep [Paul’s] voice for peace and his voice to reduce the military in the debate, because he will challenge the other Republican candidates.'”
“This is a tactical thing,” Thicke told Mother Jones.
Paul’s foreign policy views have drawn strong condemnation from hawkish conservatives. On Tuesday afternoon, Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called Paul “disgusting.”
Johnson County Democrats Chairman Terry Dahms dismissed Republican fears of Democratic “cross-dressers,” the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The intimate nature of the Iowa caucuses, Dahms said, make them “sort of like a reunion, and so for someone to cross over for whatever reason, it’s going to be an alien environment.” (RELATED: How the Iowa caucuses work)