He won the CPAC straw poll. He is second in the latest national poll. He leads in New Hampshire, the first in the nation primary, and now he is the favorite among likely voters in the first in the Iowa Caucus.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., must be doing something right.

There are still a few of the snubs his father used to get. Policymic ignored him as a GOP contender, insisting with a straight face that he does not break into the top five contenders. (Condoleezza Rice, who polls 3 percent in Iowa, apparently meets the stringent Policymic threshold.) But no matter how the power brokers want things to be, Rand Paul is proving to be popular with the masses, representing the first real political movement since Ronald Reagan.

While the views of the son, Rand Paul, and the father, Ron Paul, are sometimes different, both represent a strong sentiment against corruption. The poll in Iowa may show Rand’s campaign picking up right where his father’s campaign ended.

By the way, don’t let anybody tell you that Dr. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign of 2012 was for naught. Dr. Paul showed great appeal to independents, youth and Hispanics. It was the very crowd that eventually went to Obama and sealed the fate of the doomed GOP ticket. And it is the group that the GOP now needs for any resurgence.

Astonishingly, in 2012, the smug power brokers in the Republican Party ridiculed and broke their own rules to marginalize and hurt Dr. Paul and his followers. While publicly proclaiming a “big tent” to youth and Hispanics, the GOP security guards cut off microphones to Ron Paul Hispanics at state conventions and escorted duly elected young Ron Paul delegates off the floor of the RNC in Tampa. During the campaign, Gov. Mitt Romney openly laughed at him. No one’s laughing now.

A recent poll conducted by the McKeon & Associates for Freedom to Choose PAC, found Dr. Paul’s son, Rand Paul, with a commanding lead over all other possible GOP presidential contenders in the first in the nation contest in Iowa.

Here are the results of voters most likely to vote in the 2016 Iowa Caucus:

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., 39 percent

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., 20 percent

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., 11 percent

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., 10 percent

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-Ga., 3 percent

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 3 percent

Support for Rand Paul among independents likely to vote in the GOP Caucus was striking and bodes well for a general election contest. A full 67 percent favored Rand Paul. Just 30 percent favored Gov. Chris Christie, and all other candidates failed to muster any showing at all among these voters.

In 2012, the New York Times and all of the national network media declared Mitt Romney the winner of the Iowa Caucus. Only months later did they reverse themselves to say that Sen. Rick Santorum had won. This blogger was told that it took threats from the governor’s office and from fellow GOP leaders before the Iowa state GOP chairman would finally release the votes from selected counties that put Santorum over the top. The chairman, a Mitt Romney supporter, resigned shortly after.

For the rest of the year, the New York Times, the Associated Press and all the major networks continued to show that Ron Paul had only three delegates from the Iowa Caucus. Meanwhile, national polls showed him doing better than all other GOP contenders – except for Romney – in a head-to-head face-off with President Obama, and tied within the margin of error with Romney. These were ignored as the national media continued to marginalize Dr. Paul.

In fact, the Paul supporters openly declared that they, not Santorum, had won the Iowa delegation. They contended that if the news had been reported truthfully and the following contests had been allowed to take place according to GOP rules, Dr. Paul would have arrived as a force at a brokered RNC.

The final Iowa vote on the floor of the Republican National Convention was 22 for Dr. Ron Paul and 6 for former Gov. Mitt Romney. In a final irony, Dr. Paul’s Iowa state co-chairman was voted in to replace the disgraced Romney operative who had been running the state GOP and had withheld votes to assure that his man would get media credit for a win he didn’t earn.

Most people want fairness and despise the expanding corruption that pervades American society from its food supply, to its national media, to its monetary system, to its government relationship with Wall Street and K Street and, yes, to the corruption of its two major political parties. What good is an election if the only two candidates to choose from are produced by a corrupt process? How is that really democratic or free?

This recent poll in Iowa is a good sign. It shows that the mood of the people is beginning to reach the flood stage. It shows that the corruption – which has bankrupted this nation and made a very few, very rich at the expense of all the rest of us – has finally been exposed for what it is.

It shows that Rand Paul commands a following much bigger and much wider than his father ever had. But it also shows that his father’s campaign was more than Quixotic. Dr. Paul did not run in vain, and all of those thousands of people who were shut out or whose votes were thrown away, or whose bones were broken or whose election was nullified, did not give up a year of their lives in vain. Dr. Paul was the pace car. And now the real race for America’s future begins.

Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and former adviser to two American presidents.

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