Ron Paul, who continues to poll well in several early voting states in the Republican primaries, is refusing to rule out a possible independent run for the presidency should he lose the GOP nomination. (“I’m not thinking about it because, look, I’m not doing badly right now," he says.) And with President Obama looking so beatable in next year's election, an independent run by Paul "might guarantee" the president's re-election, writes George Will in the Washington Post.
Will lays out his scenario: Paul could easily pull in 5% to 7% of the national vote, and the vast majority of his support would come from Republicans. That would be enough to give Obama Missouri and Arizona, which he lost in 2008, and to hang on to several must-win states such as Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. "At a minimum, a Paul candidacy would force the Republican nominee to spend time and money in places he otherwise might be able to economize both." (Will is not the only one who thinks Paul could make a third-party run—Brett Budowsky says in the Hill that most people are underestimating Paul's support and organization, and he thinks speculation will begin hitting the front pages soon.)