I like Ron Paul. I think he’s consistent, honest and has a very “American” message. When I talk about him here I rarely miss an opportunity to share my opinion about his 3rd party viability. Needless to say, I think it’s pretty damn good.
However, many of his supporters loathe that I share this view so often and with such conviction. They think I’m trying to subvert his candidacy. They think I don’t want him in the debate any longer. They think I don’t like him.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
And so, here’s the truth. There hasn’t been this much support for a politician who doesn’t fit neatly into either party’s ideological structure since Perot. Paul pulls from every demographic and from every party affiliation, and it’s all because of his freedom message. To have all that end because he didn’t win the GOP nomination wouldn’t be just a waste, it would also be irresponsible and stupid.
The simple fact of the matter is I’m trying to save his candidacy. That’s why I’ve come up with 3 reasons why he should go 3rd party:
- Ron Paul won’t win the GOP nomination and he knows it.
The only shot Ron Paul had was to become the dark horse and then ride that status to rack up wins in the first few primary states. That way he could compete with Giuliani and/or Romney in the later stages of the primary season.
Well, the GOPers have picked their wild card and his name is Mike Huckabee. Like it or not, that’s the reality.
Also, with a field of candidates as broad as this, the chance for an anti-war candidate to somehow gather enough delegates to win the nomination of an extremely pro-war party is gone. Paul’s message hasn’t caught on with the average GOP voter, and he knows it.
But wait, his supporters say, he’s raising a lot of money! Look at all the people at his meetups! What about the blimp?
Yes, he has passionate support within the Republican party, but there’s also a lot of support from democrats and independents too. He’s pulling people in who weren’t involved in politics before. The result is that he appears to have more Republican support than he actually does.
Also, let’s be frank here, the very reason he’s popular is because he wasn’t courting the GOP’s base. And whether you like it or not, you have to win those voters in order to win the nomination. Add to that this news that the surge is working and that Iraq is fixable and the GOP is now firmly against Paul’s anti-war POV.
Simply put, Paul can’t remake his party from the inside out. It has to come from the outside in.
How to do that? There’s only one way.
- Ron Paul can easily get on the ballot in all 50 states.
Remember Perot? Remember 1992? For all intents and purposes, the internet didn’t even exist. And yet, Perot was able to get on the ballot in all 50 states. So how did he pull off such an amazing feat? It was combination of two things: national support and money. Paul has both too.
But when asked about running on a 3rd party ticket, Paul often cites his largely ignored Libertarian run in ’88 as a reason he wouldn’t be able to get traction. Well, if he’s being honest with that comparison, he can’t see the forest for the trees. Within 24 hours of him announcing a 3rd party run, his vast Meetup posses will be well on their way to getting him on the ballot in all 50 states. In fact, I bet he’ll get on all 50 ballots so quickly that the speed at which he accomplished that task will become a story in and of itself.
Plus, if he’s interested, he can try to harness Unity08’s organization for free access to get on the ballots. That’s why they exist. All he would have to do is pick a bi-partisan unity ticket and he’s off to the races.
And lastly, if Ralph Nader can do it, so can Paul.
Again, 3rd party.
- If Ross Perot almost won, Ron Paul can actually win.
2008 is the year of the “change” candidate. It’s prime time for a new political voice to emerge. If you don’t feel that by now, you’re not paying attention to the electorate. They voted in the anemic Dems because they’re desperate for any kind of change. What did they get? More of the same.
Again, I go back to Perot as an indicator for the electorate’s behavior. In June ’92, he was polling at 39%, with Bush Sr. and Clinton taking 31% and 25% respectively. Why? Because people liked his ideas. They liked his honesty. They thought he could actually change things.
But then he dropped out in July. The reason? Republican operatives threatened his daughter’s wedding or something like that. He reemerged in September and got back into the race. What was the final result? He still got 19% of the popular vote. Had Perot stuck with his campaign he very well could have taken the Oval Office. But he was too flaky and people lost faith. Even so, “flaky” got 19,741,065 votes.
What about a non flaky candidate? What kind of support could he grab and from where? Well, here’s some more from Wikipedia about Perot’s base:
He adopted specific positions that had been abandoned by both parties â€” he was nationalistic and isolationist; he was conservative in social policy. He opposed free trade. He was above all a crusader for a balanced budget, as he warned of the horrors of the national debt.
A detailed analysis of the voting demographics revealed that Perot’s support drew heavily from across the political spectrum, with 20% of his votes coming from self-described liberals, 27% from self-described conservatives, and 53% coming from self-described moderates. Economically, however, the majority of Perot voters (57%) were middle class, earning between $15,000 and $49,000 annually, with the bulk of the remainder drawing from the upper middle class (29% earning over $50,000 annually).
That should sound familiar to a lot of people. Ross Perot’s base was America, not the elite.
Can you say the same about Ron Paul?
And so, 3rd party.
There you have them. Those are my three reasons. I have more, but I only have so much time in my day to devote to saving politicians from themselves.
Still, I would hazard a guess that if you asked his supporters what they thought about this post, they’ll probably say I’m trying to subvert his candidacy, that I don’t want him in the debate any longer, that I don’t like him.
You see, they’re a pretty stubborn group. And that’ll serve them well when they’re trying to convince the nation that a 3rd party candidate can actually win.
(Cross-posted at PoliGazette)