Ron Paul on steady upward trajectory, third-party talk will escalate

For many months I have tried to be fair and ahead of my colleagues in the media in giving serious treatment to Ron Paul as a candidate, his campaign as a campaign, and his movement as a movement. Something is happening. There is a widening public interest in the Paul campaign, a passionate support from his followers, a professionalism from his campaign managers, and growing, though not yet sufficient, respect from the major media.

For the next few weeks, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney will be calling each other names and questioning each other's conservatism, which just might open the door for Ron Paul to charge through the gap and win the Iowa caucus. If he doesn't win, I predict a strong second.

I have suggested for some time that Paul's organization in Iowa is stronger than pundits realize, the loyalty of his followers is deeper and his performance in Iowa will surpass his numbers in the polls. Recently I have added emphasis to the well-managed Paul campaign and the strength of his ads.

Today I will add two additional factors. First, many younger voters support Paul, and many of them have cellphones, not landline phones, and are not picked up in polls. Second, while Gingrich and Romney attack each other, Ron Paul not only looks better, but there is now a growing "protest vote" that might go to Paul because GOP voters are fed up with both Romney and Gingrich and the insiderism they represent.

I think the chances of a Ron Paul third party are growing, and the power of a Ron Paul third party movement is rising. It is hard to see Paul or his supporters standing behind either Romney or Gingrich. It is easy to see Ron Paul debating Obama and Romney or Gingrich and bringing a whole new dimension to the debate.

We are now seeing others in the media begin to catch up. The news coming soon will be that Paul has a great chance of finishing first or strong second in Iowa, and there will be a growing boomlet of talk about a Ron Paul third party.

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with Paul's views in this note, just offering some political analysis.

I predict talk of a Ron Paul third party will soon reach the front pages, and I would observe that more than any other candidate, Ron Paul has been on a steady, linear and upward trajectory from the beginning of the campaign and continuing today.