My feeling is that as the more extreme members of the Republican party drive its candidates to their positions, the more likely it is that the more rational or moderate party members will be less inclined to work for, donate, or possibly even vote to them. Or else it will splinter the party so there is more than one candidate to vote for. All this bodes well for Democratic candidates.
We should be so lucky.
More likely, the further right wing constituency of the Republican party will be split amongst the most extreme candidates, long enough for Romney to sew up the nomination, as I believe Karl Rove and the old guard Republicans have been engineering all along. Romney will then flip flop (as he does so proficiently) to more moderate stances (though moderate remains a reltaive term with today’s reactionary Republicans). The Presidential race and much of its coat-tails will still be subject to how the economy is doing. The Republican party has been steadfast in their obstruction and sabotage of any efforts to positively effect the economy. It could turn out to be an effectve strategy, as regardless of who is really responsible, the general public tends to hold the sitting President responsible for the economy. And even if Ron Paul does well in this primary, I don’t believe he will run in a 3rd party. The Republicans and the media have been taking him more seriously than ever before, though that’s not saying much, and I believe he will be placated.
I am beginning to think that the biggest hope, even though it leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, is that the religious right may be alienated by Romney being a Mormon, and simply not energized to do much to support him. However, I suspect that all of the crazy right can be motivated by the sheer demonization of Obama that is beginning to rise again and which will become a veritable tidal wave, if Karl Rove has anything to do with it. And he does. The Obama demonizers will not lack for “free speech”, aka $money$.