Ron Paul is surging, an Iowa and New Hampshire front-runner and powerful third-party possibility

There are now multiple polls that show Ron Paul has gained support and has a legitimate chance to come in first or second in Iowa and New Hampshire. I would now call Ron Paul one of three front-runners in both Iowa and New Hampshire alongside Mitt Romney and a third candidate, currently Newt Gingrich. If Ron Paul wins Iowa, which he might, all bets are off. Also, most analysts miss the fact that many states have open systems where independents, and in some cases Democrats, can vote for a Republican nominee. This could give a further boost to Paul.

It is now time to give Ron Paul the attention he deserves in debates and throughout the political community.

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For Paul this presents good news and new challenges as his positions are given the kind of wider attention I have called for. For example, his foreign policy positions could help him attract independents and some Democrats in open primary states, along with some Republicans, but they also conflict with the majority Republican view.

The campaign gets very interesting if Newt Gingrich joins Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Donald Trump in collapsing, which would give Paul a head-to-head contest with Romney.

I am not predicting Ron Paul is nominated, I am suggesting he deserves to be treated with the respect of now being a serious contender to win first or second place in Iowa and New Hampshire. I have always predicted that Paul will ultimately be one of three finalists for the Republican nomination, which will become a three-person race, with Ron Paul one of the three.

At a minimum Ron Paul is now a force to be reckoned with. His support has surged in multiple polls. His fundraising will probably surge even more. He has the potential to be a kingmaker if he is the third Republican left at the convention with no candidate having a majority of delegates.

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No doubt about it, a Ron Paul third-party candidacy would now be very formidable.

It may be that before this is done, one of the most important questions in American politics will be whether Paul runs as a third-party candidate, especially if the race is between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Fasten your seatbelts.