Here’s the concern: With so many candidates in the race, candidates will probably “win” each primary and caucus with fairly small pluralities of the vote. On foreign and defense policy, Rand Paul is a crackpot, but there may be enough uninformed voters who fall for his crackpottery to give him, say, 18 percent of the vote in a series of key states. Well, 18 percent could be enough to come in first in a 16-way primary. Yikes.
The same arithmetic helps Jeb Bush even though clear majorities of Republican voters say they don’t want him as the nominee. By virtue of his name recognition and his money, Bush will probably attract at least 15 percent of the vote everywhere he runs. If he adds just another 5 percent to that baseline, he’ll be close to first in every contest.
So, as an anti-Paulite and, for purposes of this race, an anti-Jebite, I obviously dislike the arithmetic that seems to favor Paul and Jeb.
Hence my full-on-grump mode. The only silver lining is that predictions this early in a presidential campaign are notoriously untrustworthy.