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The Next President Will be Either Ron Paul or Barack Obama
Barack Obama will obviously be running as the Democratic candidate. He won in 2008 and while his popularity has waned, he still polls closely or slightly ahead against any of the potential GOP candidates. If Ron Paul wins the GOP nomination then it will be either him or Obama that wins the election.
However if Paul does not win the GOP nomination, then Barack Obama will definitely win. Here's why: Paul will run as a third party/independent candidate and take votes primarily away from the GOP candidate. Paul is retiring from Congress, is 76 and has nothing to lose. This is his last attempt to influence American politics as a candidate and he doesn't have to worry about earning his party's scorn by costing them an election. In addition, there is a chance that he could win significant votes if the economy takes a sharp turn for the worse.
Paul's rise to prominence came about largely because of his accurate positions on the economy like predicting the housing boom and bust years in advance. When mainstream economists failed to explain what happened and Ron Paul and the Austrian economists successfully did, it created a wave of support for Dr. Paul, particularly among young voters who are concerned about the long-term future of this country. Another blow to the economy in 2012 would further prove that Ron Paul was right about the failure of Obama's Keynesian economic policies and swell his support even further.
Lastly Ron Paul's supporters are die-hards who will not hold their noses and vote for a Gingrich, Romney or Perry just to get Obama out. To us those candidates are just as bad, if not worse, than Obama, and voting for any of them makes no sense. So if any other Republican candidate is nominated, Paul will siphon enough votes away to ensure an Obama victory, hence it will be either Ron Paul or Barack Obama taking the oath in 2013.