It was unfair to ignore him before voting had begun. But now it has, and Paul is losing. And so the reporters are assigned to cover his campaign are dwindling. The very last reporter embedded with the Ron Paul campaign has been ordered home by NBC News, Politico's Dylan Byers reports. Last fall, there were endless complaints of a Paul media blackout from two distinct groups: his die-hard, mostly young supporters who love to troll news websites, and from people like Jon Stewart who loved that Paul said all the anti-war stuff in debates that liberals wished John Kerry had said in 2004. Stewart memorably protested the pres forgetting about Paul last summer; eventually, the candidate was intensely scrutinized very briefly and then packed away again.
On the one hand, this may be one time when the kneejerk conventional wisdom of the media establishment was right: Paul never had a chance. His supporters would draw a different conclusion from the same facts: a candidate like Paul could never win if the media establishment never took him seriously. The chicken-or-the-egg debate will probably continue until the next presidential election season, but for this one, the history of the Paul candidacy in the Republican primary appears to have been written. All last year, reporters often said that Paul had a "ceiling" of support of 15 to 20 percent, and that he'd never be able to climb above it. In most states, that's proven to be true. Paul hasn't won a single state. Of the 27 states that have voted so far, he's come in last in more than half of them. And look at the states where Paul has performed best: New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Virginia, Vermont. Not the libertarian West, not the conservative South, but lefty coastal states and the blue-state part of the upper Midwest. He is anti-abortion, but exit polls show he wins pro-choice voters again and again.
While the dedicated pro-Paul comment section hordes are not going anywhere, actual voters haven't been showing up in the caucuses. Paul's campaign was frustrated last week, Politico's James Hohmann reported, because despite getting a huge crowds, he was solidly beaten by Romney in the Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota caucuses. The day before the Idaho caucuses, Paul drew a crowd of 2,000 at the University of Idaho. On Super Tuesday, he won the county the college is in, sure, but he only got 509 votes. That means at least 75 percent of the people who went to the rally eithe weren't eligible to vote or stayed home. It makes sense the reporters are staying home now, too.