Don't count Ron Paul out

No, Ron Paul isn’t going to get the Republican nomination.  And, no, I haven’t gotten crazy or turned into a paulbot.  It’s just that those who think Ron Paul 2012 is Ron Paul 2008 aren’t in touch with reality either.

After the events of this weekend, the Republican nomination contest has narrowed to three candidates:  Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry.  One of these three will be the Republican nominee.  And either of these three could sweep the early primaries and quickly wrap up the nomination.  But, it is much more likely that the nomination will become a protracted struggle with momentum swinging back and forth and delegates fairly evenly divided.

And that scenario could make Ron Paul the kingmaker.  Paul clearly has sufficient support that he will garner a significant number of delegates in the early states which have proportional representation.  These Ron Paul delegates could become critical to putting Romney, Perry, or Bachmann over the top for the nomination.  If that happens, it is certainly bad news for Romney and most likely bad news for Perry, whom Paul has called “another establishment candidate.”  Paul’s delegates are much more likely to go to Michele Bachmann, which could make her the ultimate nominee.

So don’t count Ron Paul out of the equation just yet.  The Ames Straw Poll could just be the beginning of a bigger story.