All the talk in the mainstream media about Ron Paul's millions is great.  They finally realize that there are a lot of us who don't feel well-represented by the slew of Mussolini impressions in the presidential race, and that we aren't going away.  A lot of libertarians are very excited about this, but for the wrong reason.

Ron Paul has no chance, none, of getting the Republican nomination, and I believe him when he says he doesn't want to run third-party.  The point of the money isn't that now he has a fighting chance, or that he'll at least get an honorable mention.  The rank and file GOP base doesn't like Ron Paul, and their set of prejudices and shit-for-brains gut feelings won't change over the course of one election cycle.

The reason to get excited about all that money is that it's more publicity for Ron Paul's (and our) ideas.  That's that many more campaign ads, debates, speaking engagements.  It's that many more people warming to the fact that libertarians exist and that we aren't scared out of our consciences by bogus threats of terrorism, but worn-out collectivist ideology, or by obnoxious moralizing.

Eventually Ron Paul will concede defeat, gracefully as always.  He won't be disappointed that he didn't win.  He'll be glad that he had a unique opportunity to present the electorate with a set of ideas it needs to hear and mostly wasn't going to hear otherwise. 

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Follow the money... forward

Of course, when Ron Paul concedes, all the leftover money goes to the Mussolini impersonators he was running against.
My understanding is that unspent campaign funds can be spent on future campaigns by the same candidate (what future campaigns?), given to PACs (oh joy, the lobbyist economy), or given to the Party. General practice is to give them to the Party. If you think Paul is going to lose, think of his campaign as collecting donations for the Republican establishment: More than likely any money given to Paul will end up paying for whatever junior-league fascist wins the nomination.

"Ron Paul has no chance,

"Ron Paul has no chance, none."  Is this just a way of saying a very small chance?  Surely there is a small possibility.  The market would seem to suggest there is a chance. Betting odds to win the presidency are low at 1-8, but much better than some other candidates.  I was trying to find what you could bet for him not to win which would really start to give some indication of a probability range but I couldn't see one. I would guess his chances are somewhere between 1 and 10%.

Look at Intrade for a odds on both sides

If you look at InTrade, which structures these bets as probabilistic futures contracts (they pay $100 if condition is met, zero if it is not, at some future date), the bid and ask prices represent a frame around the market estimate.

Bid is 6.3 and ask is 6.8, representing about a 6.55% chance to win the republican nomination according to the bettors in InTrade.

You have to correct for time value of money though (since long bettors are paying now for a chance at 100 in 8-9 months, and short bettors are being paid now for a chance to lose 100 in 8-9 months). This would increase the chance somewhat, up around 7%.

Pres.Paul is 2.2bid,2.3ask, so less than a 2.5% chance according to the Intrade hivemind.

I'm guessing the spread whereever you found a line is very wide, wide enough that they couldn't offer a tempting bet-against and still make it. At 1-8, the bettor is being fleeced. If you really believe the chances are higher than that, you could probably buy a *lot* of intrade contracts before the price moved up into break-even range around 11.

Ron Paul 2% chance to win

Michael, thank you for that. It's exactly what I was looking for. That gives a much tighter market for the probabilities. I personally don't have any view on what the chances are. It's clear the chances are slim but I don't think we should round this to zero. I wonder if dismissive commentary like that from Stephanopoulos can be damaging. Given that there seems to be some possibility I feel like it should be played up rather than down.