The Iowa Caucuses are only 12 days away as I write this. I will share my thoughts on where things stand, how Ron Paul is doing, and how things could play out.
First, while Rick Santorum may do moderately well in Iowa, he has no shot at getting the nomination.
Second, unless Mitt Romney is caught in a serious crime or having an affair, then Jon Huntsman has no shot at getting the nomination. Huntsman is an establishment candidate and right now the establishment is behind Mitt Romney.
The top three candidates right now are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. However, I do not completely discount Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry at this point. I think Iowa will likely eliminate one of them from the race, although not necessarily officially. Whichever one of them pulls off fourth place (or maybe fifth if Santorum finishes ahead of them), then that person will still have a chance. Right now, I think Perry is more likely. He has a lot of money and still has quite a bit of support. Bachmann has been better organized in Iowa and if she finishes behind Perry, she should just quit.
While Gingrich was in the lead in a lot of polls for Iowa, his support has been slipping quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. The other candidates have been going after his record and rightly so. I think many Tea Party conservatives are finding out that Newt Gingrich is not all that conservative. He has supported big government in many ways in the past, along with a global warming agenda with Nancy Pelosi.
Romney is obviously the favorite to win the nomination right now. He has the backing of the establishment and even many Tea Party people are hedging their bets and starting to support him. Of course, that just shows that some of the Tea Party people are worthless. If there is one thing that unites the entire Republican Party, it is their opposition to Obamacare. So the Republicans are going to nominate the guy who is the founder of Obamacare in Massachusetts? Romney invented Obamacare before it existed.
And now, I've saved the best for last. Ron Paul has continued to move up slowly and steadily. His supporters (me included) are loyal and enthusiastic. His supporters will make sure they go to the caucuses and the polls to vote for him.
Ron Paul has a good chance to win Iowa. He is ahead in some polls and second in some others. He absolutely has to win Iowa or come in a close second. If he comes in a distant third, I'm not sure that he will be able to overcome that.
Eventually, he is going to have to break through that pro-war and pro-establishment mentality that grips so many Republicans. If Paul can win Iowa, he all of a sudden becomes acceptable. It is hard to believe so many voters think this way, but right now a lot of people like certain things about him, but don't think it is socially acceptable to support him. If they see that a large chunk of other people are supporting him, it might persuade them to take a closer look.
If the weather is bad on January 3rd in Iowa and the turnout is low, then that will favor Ron Paul. His supporters will brave the weather. The same goes for New Hampshire on January 10th. The next few weeks are quite important as momentum can play a big role as we have seen over the last several months.
Ron Paul is breaking through and many people are listening to his message. It is driving the establishment nuts, and for that, this campaign is a win no matter what the voting results turn out to be.