So far, the major news networks have perpetuated the myth of a sweeping Mitt Romney victory in the Republican primaries. But in reality, this nomination process has been a roller coaster.
First, the media darling Mitt Romney supposetly won then lost Iowa to Rick Santorum, the virulently anti-gay butt of internet humor. Santorum was the recipient of a four-day positive media blitzkrieg.
Second, Romney won New Hampshire, then referred to as his “firewall,” after a long period of spending and intensive focus.
Tonight, Romney lost South Carolina by a almost 13 points to disgraced former Speaker, Newt Gingrich.
Where does this leave Romney, the long-touted “inevitable” nominee? And more importantly, where does this leave his antithetical, libertarian rival, Ron Paul?
Ron Paul was never expected to win South Carolina, instead expected to fall within the 3rd to 4th place range. The state is simply not libertarian territory. South Carolina is a hotbed for military industrialists, evangelical Christians, and neoconservatives whose doctrines and paranoia were personified in the Bush II administration.
Rather, Paul’s real goal in South Carolina was to eliminate Santorum from the race. Since results shows Santorum ahead of Paul, Santorum may have the confidence to stick around for a little longer before dropping out. Paul's campaign hoped Santorum would follow Jon Huntsman, who dropped out following his loss of 2nd place to Paul in New Hampshire.
But where does Ron Paul go from here, in light of these strange developments?
Paul’s campaign is essentially skipping Florida, as the amount of money needed to advertise outweighs the state’s importance in the primaries, as its delegate share was cut in half after moving up its primary schedule. Instead, his campaign is buying ads in the delegate-rich states of Nevada and Minnesota. Paul is making the right choice by investing early in the traditionally blue states. Nevada is known for its legal prostitution while Minnesota has voted Democratic in every national election since Jimmy Carter. These are places where the pro-Paul “Blue Republicans” will no doubt shine.
As this nomination process continues to fracture and diverge from the media’s original narrative, the fight is looking long and hard, with a fair chance that Ron Paul could pull off an upset in the nomination process, and emerge as the Republicans’ most anti-establishment candidate since Barry Goldwater.
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