Opinion

Why Rand Paul Will Win

W. James Antle III Managing Editor

Call off the Iowa caucuses. Cancel the New Hampshire primary. Let’s all head to Cleveland to name the 2016 Republican presidential nominee right now.

The race is over. Rand Paul has won. There is no way he can be denied.

How can I say that before a single vote has been cast, before most of the field has even declared? Simple: Dick Morris has predicted Paul can’t win.

Morris’ predictions are almost always wrong. Ergo, Rand Paul is now a heavy favorite to clinch the nomination.

Everyone who makes political forecasts with any frequency is going to make mistakes, me included. The crystal ball is sometimes cloudy. It’s hard to overcome personal biases and see the world as it really is.

But it is even harder to find a political prognosticator who has been wrong so routinely and in such an over-the-top fashion as Dick Morris.

Whatever mojo he had when advising Bill Clinton, Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Howard Metzenbaum as a political strategist went out the window when he became a pundit.

Remember Mitt Romney’s 2012 landslide? “I believe he’ll win by more than five points in the popular vote,” Morris said. “I think he’ll get 325 electoral votes.”

On his projected electoral map, Morris picked Romney to win Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, New Hampshire and Ohio. Barack Obama won all of those states.

“[T]here is no chance that Obama will get re-elected,” Morris once confidently asserted. “I don’t agree that’s true,” Sean Hannity protested.

“Zilch, none, zip, nada,” Morris shot back.

In 2011, Morris didn’t think Obama was even going to run for re-election. “Particularly if the Republicans nominate a more moderate candidate such as Mitt Romney, Obama will not be able to rely on partisan animosity to succeed where job approval has failed,” he wrote. “And, given all that, he might not even run.”

In the same column, Morris speculated that Republicans could win a 60-seat, filibuster-proof Senate majority in November 2012:

Currently, there are strong Republican candidates in 12 seats now held by Democrats. All could win in a 10- to 15-point landslide (which is shaping up). They include: Virginia (George Allen), Florida (Adam Hasner), New Mexico (probably Rep. Steve Pearce), Montana (Rep. Denny Rehberg), North Dakota (Rep. Rick Berg), Nebraska (Jon Bruning), Missouri (Sarah Steelman would be the best), Michigan (Pete Hoekstra), Ohio (Josh Mandel would be best), Wisconsin (Tommy Thompson or one of the others), Pennsylvania (Tim Burns would be great) and Connecticut (Chris Shays — better than Linda McMahon).  

Republicans won only one of these seats, with a different candidate than the one Morris picked. Not a single one of the above candidates was elected.

Morris mentioned “West Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state, Minnesota and Maryland” as additional Republican pickup opportunities in 2012. Democrats swept those races.

“I know we predicted Republican Senate control in 2010,” Morris wrote on his website. “But this time — honest — we are going to win!” Democrats actually picked up Senate seats in 2012.

In April 2012, Morris told radio host Mike Gallagher that Donald Trump was going to run for president and could probably beat Obama.

In 2010, Morris also wrote that New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was “still beatable,” two months before she won by 28 points.

In 2008, he floated the idea of Michael Bloomberg running for president as an independent. “Bloomberg could win,” Morris concluded.

Three years earlier, Morris wrote a whole book imagining the 2008 presidential race — “the next great presidential race” — was going to be a fierce contest between Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.

Clinton lost the Democratic presidential nomination. Rice didn’t even run. We did elect the first black president of the United States, however.

Though to be fair, this might have been a work of ran fiction rather than an actual political prediction.

Morris’ column about Paul contains some of his usual doozies. “With Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings, who among us is prepared to bet on a new approach to issues and an attempt to reshape our political party?” he writes. “The stakes are too high and the consequences of failure to [sic] horrible.”

Huh?

“Paul’s brand of neo-isolationism cannot attract a majority of any electorate in any election.” You don’t think Paul could win re-election to his Senate seat?

I will admit to sharing the view that perhaps libertarian Republican “trends have more years to grow until they become mature enough to command majorities.” Thankfully, Morris writing it makes me second-guess my opinion.

Congratulations, Rand Paul. You are one step closer to the White House.

W. James Antle III is managing editor of The Daily Caller and author of the book Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? Follow him on Twitter.