I know everyone has been waiting on the edge of their seats to find out just who they are going to vote against this November! Whether it be Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul no level of disappointment in President Obama will make me vote for a Republican in 2012. I hope we are all in agreement in that regard. If not, write me a comment and we can talk it through. I’m here for you, disgruntled Democrats!
The Iowa Caucus, which begins at 7pm CST/8pm EST tonight is the extremely over hyped process that officially kicks off the 2012 race. Seriously, 150,000 people max will caucus tonight and there are 3 million people in Iowa. If you don’t know what the difference is between a caucus and an primary is click here.
Allow me to lay out three possible scenarios and what they might mean for the future of the race:
1. Ron Paul Wins. Mitt Romney comes in 2nd or 3rd.
Conventional wisdom is that if you don’t come in the top 3 in Iowa your chances are over (except if your name is John McCain). There is a high probability (in my opinion) that Ron Paul will win tonight based on the strength of his campaign’s on the ground operation and the level of enthusiasm of his supporters.
If Paul wins and Romney comes in 2nd or 3rd the race just shifts to the New Hampshire primary next week where Romney is polling 25+ points ahead of the field. So a Ron Paul win is good for Ron Paul but not necessarily bad for Romney. Everybody with me? Good, moving on.
2. Rick Santorum pulls a Huckabee. Romney is 2nd or 3rd.
In 2008, Mike Huckabee shocked the nation by pulling off a surprise upset in Iowa. Based on the support of the homeschooling network and evangelical voters Huckabee won just like Rick Santorum hopes to do tonight. He’s been a joke up to this point (actually, no, he’ll still be a joke after tonight) but he will be looking for some added credibility from the Republican establishment (read: money!) if he’s able to pull off a surprise upset.
If Mitt Romney is 2nd or 3rd behind Santorum he will look a little more inept than finishing behind Ron Paul but he’ll still likely just press on towards a New Hampshire blow out next week.
3. Mitt Romney Wins.
A Mitt Romney win might mean that the GOP is finally going to stop searching for the “anti-Romney” candidate but I wouldn’t put any money on it. Unlike most of my media colleagues I think a Romney win is the least likely of the three outcomes I’ve listed (and I’m willing to be wrong). So a Romney win means he has 2 states in the bag (assuming of course he has a blow out win in New Hampshire as predicted) and it will be much much harder going forward towards South Carolina and the other primary states for anyone to really challenge his hold on the nomination.
P.S. After tonight, say goodbye to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Just a hunch.