Rand Paul has gotten some positive reviews with his filibuster of John Brennan, his speech at CPAC, and subsequent victory in the straw poll.
There has to be one, legit tea party candidate for the movement to feel loved, needed, and accepted in the Republican party.And, note this, that’s absolutely necessary for Republicans.Christine O’Donnell wasn’t necessary, but the vast majority of tea partiers and many tea party candidates are necessary.There’s a false dichotomy that says the GOP can either have the tea party or not have the tea party — that you have to either be divorcing and marrying the tea party.But to win in 2016, the GOP needs the tea party and mainstream Republicans, and that’s doable.The biggest danger for the GOP is if Rand Paul actually won, but he won’t. So just give him a seat at the table, and show ’em that you care.
Harry Enten of the Guardian suggests that Rand Paul has a good chance of winning, so it may not be wise for the party to underestimate him.
In 2010, Paul overcame establishment opposition to win the Republican primary by an astounding 23 points. He then went on to defeat a solid opponent in Jack Conway in the general election by a solid 12 points.
These victories make Rand Paul very much unlike his father, Ron. Paul the elder never won a statewide popular vote in a primary or general election. Ron Paul has his base, but never could really reach beyond it. His son, Rand, is simply a better politician. The one thing that Ron did have was an organization set up to help him get votes in the early states. He got 21% of the vote in Iowa and 23% in New Hampshire in 2012.
Rand, in my opinion, will likely inherit much of his father’s organization. Assume that can give him 21% of the vote in Iowa and 23% of the vote in New Hampshire. It’s quite possible that only high 20s are needed to win both states. One has to think that given Rand’s political abilities, which his father failed to posses, he can win that extra 5% of the vote in each state to put him over the top.
Rand Paul winning either Iowa or New Hampshire, let alone both, would make him a big time power player for the 2016 primary season. It might even put him in a position to, dare I say, win the nomination.
Rand Paul may be better suited for the early primary states of New Hampshire and Iowa than any of the other nominees. His father also finished second in the Nevada caucuses in both 2008, and in third place in 2012. As a southern Senator, Rand Paul would also be at a geographic advantage in the South Carolina primary, especially if it occurs after weeks of positive media attention amid first-place and second-place wins elsewhere. So it’s certainly possible that he would develop enough momentum early to carry him to the nomination.
It can’t be taken for granted that he’ll perform as well as his father did. He has to toe a careful line, of impressing his father’s supporters, some of whom are otherwise not active in politics, while also appealing to other Republican voters. The question is whether he can get enough of the people who loved George W Bush in the 2000 primary, without scaring away his father’s biggest fans.
He’s also likely to deal with a much stronger primary field. Some of the people who voted for Ron Paul did so because he wasn’t Mitt Romney, and because the shortcomings of Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum had become rather obvious over the course of the primary. With a John Thune, Mike Pence, Jim Demint, Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour in the race, they probably would not have opted for a septuagenarian Congressman.
A Senator in his early 50s will be a more obvious choice for the presidential nomination. In 2016, Rand Paul’s likely to run against Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio (or Jeb Bush), Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal. The primary voters are likely to be impressed with the alternatives.