Stealth insurrection on the right
My observation of the right wing of the internet includes the Ron Paul cult, an alternate reality far more divorced from real reality than the "normal" right-wing bubble is. In that alternate reality, Ron Paul is the only true voice of the people, virtually a messiah -- if he hasn't actually won any states, that's because of deluded voters, or fraud, or media conspiracies. If he gets almost no news coverage, it's not because he's a fringe crank with no chance of winning, it's because of a "media black-out" conspiracy. Think of the kind of person who sits in a remote cabin in Montana writing unreadable pamphlets "proving" that Federal Reserve notes aren't real money, fuming about the Illuminati and the gold standard and CIA mind-control rays*, and gloating about some vague impending "collapse" of society. Now imagine a whole subculture made up of such people. You'll be pretty close.
And the hard-core Paultards are not falling into line behind Romney. They have a plan, and it involves exploiting arcane procedural rules of the Republican party to achieve two goals:
1) Securing enough Paul-loyal delegates, despite the actual popular vote in the Republican primaries and caucuses, to win the nomination for Paul at the convention.
2) Taking over control of the Republican party at the state and local level, the ultimate aim being to take over the party nationally.
For a sense of the mind-set at work, check out the comment threads (more than the actual posts) here and here and here. Mainstream Republicans have started to notice the problem.
Why is this happening now? Paul has run for President before without his cult resorting to such measures. But he's now 76, and this is probably his last shot. And the Paultards are at least as paranoid about Obama as the teabaggers are. Some believe that if Obama wins a second term, he'll become a dictator and there will be no more elections.
What's the likely actual outcome of this insurrection? If Paul did somehow win the nomination, Obama would have an easy victory -- he'd be running against an aging fringe crank whose ideology would horrify most voters once they understood it, while the millions of rank-and-file Republicans who voted for Romney at their state primaries and conventions would be outraged at seeing their votes swept aside by an organized minority exploiting obscure rules and technicalities. Such a scenario is, of course, very improbable. But if (as is likely) the Republican establishment swats down the insurrection and Romney's nomination goes according to plan, the party will have another problem.
You really need to spend some time in the Paultardosphere, soaking in its ambiance, to grasp how utterly cut off from reality these people are. They really think they can do this. And they've been telling themselves for months that Paul must be nominated or the country is doomed. At the convention, when their bubble world is inevitably burst by collision with reality, the shock will be profound. The results could include a massive tantrum disrupting the convention, a third-party run pulling some percentage of votes from Romney, and the Devil knows what else. It probably won't include falling quietly into line behind the nominee.
Romney will likely try to buy off Paul with a major speaking slot at the convention, which he's said to covet. But for all we know, Paul himself may endorse the insurrection and expect it to produce results; and in any case, the cult may not renounce its dreams and fall into line even if the messiah commands it. They're too worked up for that.
Years ago the Republicans made a pact with the Devil, embracing teh crayzee in various forms to win the support of small but fanatical armies of true believers, and lately the Devil has been coming round to collect. O'Donnell and Angle were just the beginning.
[*I don't mean they believe in those specific things, though some of them may -- I'm trying to give a sense of the general mentality. Actual Paultard conspiracy theories are too boring to form any clear impression.]