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Why the GOP’s Ron Paul nightmare will continue

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Ron Paul is a crackpot. But don't expect him to disappear from the 2012 race any time soon.

The only constant in the 2012 nomination has been that three quarters of Republicans plan to vote against Romney. The problem is not merely his Mormon faith, its the fact that Romney is a transparent phony. A 25 cent billionaire who claims to be 'unemployed too'. A man whose core beliefs change depending on the audience he is addressing.

GOP voters knew that Perry and Bachmann are fools, that Cain was unqualified and Gingrich and Santorum are unelectable. Nobody seems to want to ask the question in an opinion poll, but isn't the most likely reason they prefer such obviously flawed candidates to Romney is the fact that Mittens makes people's flesh crawl?

Paul looks set to do very well in Iowa tonight. The next stop on the trail is New Hampshire, the 'Live Free or Die' state. Conventional wisdom has been that this is a 'must win' state for Romney. If Paul does well in Iowa there is a real chance that he continues that momentum to New Hampshire and knocks the establishment candidate clean out of the race.

lf Paul looks set to win the GOP race will plumb whole new depths of ugly as the establishment rushes to kill the possibility of a Paul bid. Politicians look to their own interests first and foremost and the last thing they want to see is a sudden influx of libertarian leaning Paulistas. Ron Paul is an anti-choice, homophobic racist but most of his supporters are not. How do they become foot soldiers for the GOP culture war?

There is already talk of a third party bid, expect that talk to get much louder. Trump has good reason to keep his options open: If Paul is the GOP nominee in name, many in the party would be more than ready to back Trump in practice. Alternatively the libertarian party nomination is probably Paul's for the asking if he decides he has been unfairly treated by the GOP. And don't forget that Trump has an ego the size of Rhode Island. If Trump is asked to run as a 'stop Paul' candidate he is not going to fold his tent just because the eventual GOP nominee is Romney.

Unless Paul has an unexpected defeat tonight, the GOP looks set to be talking about Paul for a long time to come.

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