After watching the Republican presidential candidates debate in Iowa on ABC tonight, I am convinced the best thing that could happen to the Republican Party is for none of the current candidates to win enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination on the first ballot of the national convention. Then, the Republican delegates could choose someone who is not currently in the race to be the nominee, and thus, choose someone who has not been attacked either by the current Republican candidates or by the Obama campaign. It would draw national attention to the nomination process, too. It has been a long time since a party convention has had to have multiple ballots to decide who would be the party's nominee for president.
The Democratic Party already has its nominee, President Obama (of course). So, there is no issue there. He will run a strong race, and I think the odds are in his favor of being reelected unless the unemployment rate remains high. Even then, he can still win because he is a strong and intelligent campaigner.
Should one of the present Republican candidates win enough delegates to get the nomination on the first ballot, the time will be ripe for an independent candidate to run against both parties. This person would have to be wealthy, intelligent, able to articulate his ideas well, and not be quirky. In other words, this person would have to be credible. I have no idea who this person might be, though. Indeed, such a person may not exist.
Given all this, I am impressed that Ron Paul has remained consistent on his message. I especially admire his willingness in a previous debate to buck the popular conservative position on "enhanced interrogation techniques" by stating that waterboarding is torture. I read a Tweet by Senator McCain where he stated that he agrees with Ron Paul's position, and so do I. Torture demeans our nation morally, and is of no practical benefit.