Ron Paul Shouldn’t (And Probaby Won’t) Go Third Party

There has been increasing speculation that Ron Paul will bolt the Republican Party and run for president as either an independent or a third party candidate. This weekend, George Will got into the act and Paul was less than Shermanesque about such a candidacy himself on Meet the Press. Polls show Paul could take a Ross Perot-sized share of the vote.

Although Bob Barr and Pat Buchanan can tell you that such early polls don’t always predict how well a third party candidate will do in the heat of the two-man race, there are good reasons to think Paul can appeal to a wider audience than the Republican nominating electorate and to doubt that he’ll be able to endorse the eventual nominee.

Nobody close to the situation who I have ever talked to thinks such a campaign will happen. Paul had to fight hard to secure the Libertarian nomination in 1988 and the campaign was far less consequential than his fourth-place finish in the Republican primaries twenty years later. He has been elected to Congress 11 times as a Republican and GOP voters seem poised to give him a top-tier showing in Iowa and New Hampshire.



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