Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nate Silver on Rand Paul's Chances in 2016

Nothing too revolutionary but still an interesting read.  I've excerpted it below but read the whole thing which talks a lot about the structure of the GOP.  And interestingly, he thinks Chris Christie will end up pulling a Jon Huntsman if he runs:

As for Rand Paul, he begins with one significant advantage: he is unlikely to be challenged for the loyalty of G.O.P.'s libertarian wing. This is not to say that there is nothing a libertarian might find fault with in Mr. Paul; hisposition on same-sex marriage, for instance, is unlikely to be deemed acceptable by left-leaning libertarians. But the types of libertarians who vote in the Republican primary are a more conservative group and are unlikely to find any better alternatives, particularly given that most politicians in both parties behave as though social issues, economic issues and foreign affairs all exist within a single ideological dimension.

What we may be witnessing, then, is an effort for Mr. Paul to expand his support into some of the other Republican constituencies. His recent call for immigration reform, for instance, while compatible with his libertarian principles, could also appeal to voters from the G.O.P.'s moderate wing. In contrast, it might be less helpful with the Tea Party voters, whose support he will hope to win.

Unlike some "insurgent" candidates of the past, Mr. Paul seems interested in participating in the "invisible primary," a process that is traditionally associated with establishment candidates. He will be the headline speaker at May's Lincoln Dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa, for example, just the sort of thing that might help him to win some key endorsements there three years from now.

Mr. Paul is also sure to get his share of push-back from establishment Republicans; Mr. McCain, for example, criticized his recent filibuster.

But Mr. Paul at least seems to demonstrate the interest in expanding his support beyond libertarian conservatives, something his father rarely did, and he will have three years to experiment with how to find the right formula. That doesn't make him as likely a nominee as a more traditional candidate like Mr. Rubio, Jeb Bush or Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. But his odds look better than the 20-to-1 numbers that some bookmakers have placed against him.

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