Too early for predictions, but…
Chris Matthews has already declared a winner in the fight for the GOP presidential nomination, announcing: “I predict the hard right is going to take over the Republican Party in 2016 and that the nomination is going to Rand Paul.”
This ignores history: since the birth of the GOP, Republicans nominated candidates from the party’s broad center 36 of 39 times, choosing ideological nominees identified with the right only once with Goldwater and twice with Reagan.
Moreover, 2016 will likely follow recent patterns with multiple right-leaning candidates like Senators Paul, Cruz, Santorum, and Rubio dividing the most conservative votes while a single centrist like Governor Christie has moderate voters to himself. Conceivably, Congressman Paul Ryan could slip in between Christie and more conservative contenders, capturing the party’s mainstream and making him a far more likely nominee than Rand Paul.