By Brian Doherty
Business Insider with details on the Ron Paul campaign's stealth efforts for total Republican Party dominance, after explaining again all the reasons to doubt the legitimacy of the announced straw poll vote (nonbinding on eventual delegates) in Maine:
The Paul campaign believes it has won the majority of Maine's delegates....
Caucus chaos has also proved to be fertile ground for Paul's quiet takeover of the Republican Party. Since 2008, the campaign and Paul's Campaign for Liberty PAC have made a concerted effort to get Paul sympathists involved in the political process. Now, tumult in state party organizations has allowed these supporters to rise up the ranks.
"We like strong party leadership when it comes from us," Paul campaign chair Jesse Benton told Business Insider. "Our people work very hard to make sure that their voice is heard."
The fruits of this labor are evident in Iowa, where Paul's former state campaign co-chair A.J. Spiker was just elected as the new chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. Spiker replaces Matt Strawn, who stepped down over this year's Iowa caucus dustup. In Nevada, the state chair has also resigned over caucus disaster, and several Ron Paul supporters are well-positioned to step up to fill the void. These new leaders not only expand Paul's influence at the state level, but also help protect Paul and his hard-won delegates from state party machinations as the delegate-selection process moves to district and state conventions, and eventually the Republican National Convention this summer.
"We are always trying to bring people into the party," Benton said. "I think that is a very positive thing for Republicans. Ron is the person who can build the Republican base, bring new blood into the party. That's how you build the party."
In Maine, the caucus disaster has made the state GOP prime for a Ron Paul takeover. And that means that Paul's hard-won delegates will be protected as the delegate selection process
"We are taking over the party," Wead told BI. "That's the important thing — and that is what we are doing in Maine."
Daily Beast has more on this angle of Paul's ongoing secret victory, focusing not on the GOP per se but his ideological conquest of the young and the wired:
According to the Election Oracle, Paul has played online with remarkable consistency, staying entirely in positive territory and avoiding the volatile shifts and dips of his opponents. One reason is obvious: The 20- and 30-somethings who ardently support the free-market platform of the aging candidate are heavy web users who gush about him on political blogs, in news comments and on Twitter. But less clear is how for weeks, Paul, despite his controversial and provocative ideas to massively reign in the size of government, has escaped any online controversy or sustained attack.
To determine its favorability ratings, the Election Oracle tracks 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to analyze what millions of people are saying about the candidates—and determines whether the web buzz is positive or negative. That rating is weighted, along with the Real Clear Politics polling average and the latest InTrade market data, to calculate each candidate’s chances of winning the Republican nomination. (See methodology here.)
The downside of Paul's web popularity is that it isn't quite a representative sample. The positive web rating comes from his enthusiastic fans, but few others are talking about him....
Meanwhile, a CNN poll has Paul coming on top on the question of whether his policies are perceived as good for the middle class, above all his GOP opponents as well as President Obama. See this CNN clip, in which the graphic amusingly places the number one Paul at the bottom of the list:
My forthcoming book, Ron Paul's Revolution.