Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post has some excellent analysis on Rand Paul’s chances of winning the presidential nomination in 2016. He puts him as the No. 1 contender right now.
Don’t laugh. As The Brody File has been saying for months, Rand Paul will be the only candidate in the field that has the unique ability to authentically bring together strong-minded libertarians and seriously committed evangelical Christians.
I’m not saying that Rand Paul is every evangelical’s cup of tea, but he resonates. Don’t underestimate him in Iowa and South Carolina. Paul's biggest hurdle will be battling the neo-conservative crowd who is looking for every opportunity to bring him down politically because his war philosophy doesn’t jive at all with theirs.
Here is Cillizza's analysis:
The first eight-plus months of 2013 have convinced us of one thing: Rand Paul acts and the rest of the potential 2016 Republican presidential field reacts.
On drones, Paul led a 13-hour-long filibuster that drew Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (among others) to the floor in support.
On Syria, Paul was out front in his opposition to a military strike — a position that 30 of his Senate Republican colleagues shared as of this writing. Those 30 include both Rubio,who voted against the use-of-force resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Paul, in short, seems to be a step or two in front of the ongoing transformation of the RepublicanPparty from a hawkish conservatism to a sort of populist libertarianism. (Make sure to read BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins interview with Rand in which he expounds on that idea.)
That’s not to say, of course, that significant strains of resistance to the vision of the Republican Party that Paul is offering don’t remain. They do. And, it remains to be seen whether the establishment, such as it is — elected officials and major donors primarily — can unite to keep Paul from the nomination in favor of a politically “safer” choice like Rubio or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
And, Paul — as he showed with his civil rights comments during the 2010 Kentucky Senate campaign – holds some controversial views that can (and will) get him into trouble in the glare of the national spotlight.
But, anyone who laughs at Paul as a serious contender, dismisses him as just a carbon copy of his father (former Texas Rep. Ron Paul) or otherwise writes him off would do well to study the year in politics so far. No one in Republican politics has had a better year than Paul. And it’s not all that close.
1. Rand Paul: He’s not a clear front-runner. But, if you are looking for a candidate who can (a) raise the money, (b) has a clear and compelling message and (c) has an obvious edge in an early state (Iowa), then Paul is the only person in the top three who checks all three boxes. We repeat what we said above: Underestimate him at your own peril. (Previous ranking: 3)