On any given Saturday, rain is generally a good reason to remain under the covers at least a little while longer than usual — and to forgo any unnecessary errands entirely. On primary Saturday, rain becomes a test of supporters’ dedication to a particular candidate. So far, it’s been a wet weekend day in the Palmetto State — and you know who that helps. For once, the answer is not Mitt Romney.
The Texas congressman joked at a campaign stop here Friday evening that some of his staff were praying for less favorable weather to tamp down turnout for those who would vote for other candidates, the implication being that Paul’s supporters would not stay home for any reason.
“When we were flying in [to Greenville], the weather was getting bad, and it was starting to rain, and I thought, is anybody going to show up?” Paul recounted at the Friday rally. “And somebody said, can you doubt that the weather is going to keep them at home?”
“These guys are praying for bad weather tomorrow so that all those other people stay home tomorrow,” Paul said.
Nothing to do but wait and see whether the rain will, indeed, affect turnout and whether Paul fans will be undeterred. But, in another sign of the dedication of Ron Paul supporters, the Texas Congressman’s name still dominated Twitter mentions this week, even though the drama surrounding the other candidates made for one of the most memorable weeks of the 2012 primary season so far.
NBC’s Chuck Todd might have summed up Thursday’s events best with this tweet:
“Books about this campaign will have chapters simply titled: ‘January 19th'” …
The candidates, with the exception of Santorum, saw significant surges in the volume of tweets about them, but perennial top-mention-getter Paul still had more mentions than any of the other candidates.
Paul had a relatively drama-free week compared to his remaining rivals, and recent tracking polls peg him to finish third in the South Carolina primary. But his grasp on the top spot in the @MentionMachine, as in practically every other online poll ever conducted, is firm.
No matter how popular Paul becomes, though, insiders inevitably discount him as a plausible actual nominee. Instead, they speculate about what it is Paul “wants” out of his candidacy, as it couldn’t possibly be the nomination. A new theory from Kimberly Strassel, for example, puts forward the idea that he just wants to amass enough delegates to force his foreign policy views on the rest of the party. If that is the case, then anyone in South Carolina wary of Ron Paul’s out-of-the-GOP-mainstream positions better brave the rain.