So DR. RON PAUL!!1!!11!!1!1! has been raising tons of money from a diverse group of libertarians, paleoconservatives, anti-war purist morons, conspiracy theorists, gold bugs, nativists, white supremacists and severely misguided, high, anti-entitlement college students.
He's been polling surprisingly well lately;
8% in South Carolina [with McCain at 9%, Huckabee at 12%, Giuliani at 13%, and Thompson and Romney tied at 21%].
About 7% in Nevada, with Huckabee at 5%, McCain at 8%, Thompson at 14% Romney at 21%, and Giuliani at 28%.
8% in New Hampshire, several points ahead of Huckabee and Thompson.
6% in Iowa, tied with McCain.
Although his numbers have gone up, he has no real shot at the Republican nomination. If school was in session, he would definitely have done well enough in Story County (Iowa State) and Johnson County(U of Iowa) and maybe some other counties with university to reach the viability level and get some state delegates. With break, he may not be able to; either way, he has no chance of winning the Republican nomination, because he has a relatively low maximal support, and once the field thins to him and one or two others, he'll never be able to do well enough.
But there are still 2 important questions to be answered.
1) Who will his supporters decide to switch to at the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, and will it make a difference?
This sort of thing is always difficult to predict, even with candidates with similar constituencies who aren't fairly out of line with their party. After all, Dennis Kucinich was the left-wing candidate in 2004-one would've expected him to push his supporters to go with either the labor candidate (Gephardt) or the anti-war candidate (Dean). If they'd gone with Dean, Dean would've probably finished a fairly weak second and/or the scream thing might've gone differently, and Edwards would've been a weak third. This might well have set up Wes Clark as the anti-Kerry candidate (or maybe Dean would've managed to win NH), and would've meant Edwards would've faded and probably wouldn't be running this time.
However, I'll give the best predictions I can.
Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are at the top in Iowa, with a big gap. I highly doubt Paul supporters will be going with someone perceived as extremely disingenuous and flip-flopping and "ask my lawyers if torture is okay" (Romney) or as somewhat populist (Mike Huckabee), and Thompson's so old and boring.
Had McCain not decided to be so resolutely pro-war this cycle, I'd think they'd go with him; he's had the most consistently anti-spending/pro-balanced budget record of any of the candidates and he opposes torture.
Giuliani has got to be the least likely, though. His ideology can be summed up by 9/11 and "I'll protect you from the terrorists and criminals". This pisses off pretty much the entire Paul constituency. The conspiracy theorists think the U.S. government did it, the white supremacists think the Jews/Israel did it, the libertarians hate the loss of liberty it spouted, and the students/potheads despise his record on crime.
So I'd guess McCain (then again, he may not make it to 15% even with the Paultards).
2) Paul has really not been spending much money. Before the start of the 4th quarter, he had more money on hand than John McCain (and way more than Huckabee who raised only a total of $1 million; businesspeople don't like him in the primary) with Giuliani being the only one with more than twice what he had on hand
He managed to raise $4.2 million online at the beginning of this month in honor of Guy Fawkes Day, and his supporters are trying to raise $10 million in honor of the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party [I expect them to raise several million at least].
I expect the reason he's not spending very much money now is that he's planning an independent general election run and he can use the money he's raising to promote his candidacy until the Republican National Closet-in in St. Paul (honoring Larry Craig).
Of course, he needs a vice president. Three possibilities are David Duke, Lou Dobbs and Dennis Kucinich.
Paul has recently taken a hit from white supremacists because some "Jews for Ron Paul" (as my good friend GoldnI says, What a Shande) and worse (or perhaps equivalent, I don't understand racists), "Zionists for Ron Paul" online groups have been coming into being. They're also worried that he's going to succumb the "neo-commie Jew filth" (or whatever they'd say; I prefer not to read their sites) at the Anti-Defamation League.
The Anti-Defamation League has also demanded that he return the donation he was given by Don Black, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and webmaster of the racist skinhead website Stormfront, convicted of trying to invade Dominica and get the white leader back into power.
In order to re-assure these guys, he could pick David Duke, well-known former Ku Klux Klan leading anti-Semite, Republican State Representative from Louisiana, and twice the Republican nominee for statewide elections in Louisiana.
But Duke would probably hurt him among the other constituencies that probably couldn't stomach the overt racism.
Lou Dobbs would probably be a better-choice. He's made noises about running, and his nativist (anti-immigrant/anti-outsourcing etc.) rantings on CNN has made his show one of the most-watched on cable news. Nativism has often been good for quite a few votes in American history (from the Know-Nothing party to Ross Perot; major parties have adopted it in the past as well); Dobbs as VP would help get those constituencies and could really help such a ticket.
Finally, there's Dennis Kucinich, who recently said he'd be okay with being on a ticket with Paul. Kucinich might freak some of his other constituencies.
However, as a proud leprachaun, Dennis Kucinich is almost certainly more than okay for gold bugs.
His staunch anti-free trade record makes him well-liked by the nativist crowd.
His staunchly pro-civil liberties and hard-core anti-war/anti-defense spending record (at least since he became pro-choice) will be enough to make libertarians overlook his somewhat socialist economic positions [in the #2 role].
And it'll guarantee him a whole host of idiots on the left, especially if Hillary is the Democratic nominee.
He has no chance of winning the general, but getting 10% is very possible.