Ron Paul and the Republican PriamrySubmitted by ElkHollow on Fri, 09/14/2007 - 00:00
RON PAUL SUPPORTERS MUST TAKE ACTION HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN THE PRIMARY!
What Do Ron Paul Supporters Really Want? Time to Decide.
I've been surfing around the web for a couple of months now, watching this Ron Paul phenomenon, jumping on the Ron Paul bandwagon, putting bumper stickers on my car, blogging about his campaign from time to time (o.k., a lot). I'm with him, but I realize that my goals for his candidacy might not be the same as others, and they might not travel on the same path. So I've got a couple of questions for Ron Paul supporters out there--the answers to the questions are going to determine what direction his supporters need to take.
FIRST QUESTION: What is your goal in supporting the Ron Paul candidacy?
Obviously, there can be several answers to this. The most obvious is that you want him to be President, but of course it may be that you just want him to get a little attention, or that you enjoy being part of a "revolution" but have no desire to do the real work. If your answer is like either of the last two options--don't sweat it and keep doing exactly what you're doing. He won't be elected, but he'll continue to get some "novelty" notice for a while yet--and then when the primaries come around, the GOP will promptly forget him.
SECOND QUESTION: If you seriously want him to be president (or at least have a meaningful spot in the General Election) what are you willing to do to make that happen?
By a meaningful spot, I am saying quite explicitly that Ron Paul will be wasting his time as a third party candidate, no matter how much support he has. There were a lot of third party candidates in the 20th century, and all they ever did was act as a "spoiler" for someone else. Like it or not, our system has evolved into a 2 party system, and the only time a new party has been able to take over has been when one of the two dominant parties comes into such disrepute that there is a natural opening for the new party (think Republican ascendancy and Whig disappearance). Unless you're a Ross Perot and can buy some votes (and I don't think he even got any electoral votes), you don't typically even get on the stage at a debate.
That being the case, the best place for Ron Paul to either become President, or at least a Presidential nominee, is in the Republican party (I know, some might disagree, but he's caucused with the Republicans, been elected as a Republican, so this is where he needs to be). But...we also know that the Republican party of today is not naturally in sync with Paul's philosophy--at least at the points of power. That has to change if Paul is to either: a) get the nomination, or; b) exert significant influence on the philosophical future of the GOP (once you get beyond the war complaints, the rhetoric of the Republican party is much more in sync with the Paul than would be the Democrats).
If we really want Ron Paul to have a shot at power in the Republican party--if not the nomination, Paul supporters need to understand the following things:
If you are an Independent or member of a third party, in many states you will have no voice in the power that Ron Paul can exert.
If a state selects delegates to the national convention via the primary ballot, and the primary is a closed primary state, then the only people voting in the Republican party (and thus selecting delegates) will be registered Republicans.
If a state selects delegates to the national convention via the state convention (as we do in Nebraska), then you've got to get to the state convention to make the nomination to the national convention--and in most cases, delegates to state conventions come from county party conventions; if you're not a Republican, you're not going to get there, in all likelihood.
Ron Paul could be competitive in a general election based on ideas, but right now, it's all about the nomination of the Republican Party, and that means finding ways to turn "webroots" support into "grassroots REPUBLICAN" support.
Supporters need to know how their states select delegates, then they need to figure out how to work that system. For instance, here in Nebraska, delegates are chosen at our state convention, and delegates must declare their preferred candidate (and are bound to that for 2 ballots).
That being the case, the appropriate strategy is to try to "stack the deck" at the state convention. To do that, you have to get people to the county conventions (where the delegates to the state convention are chosen), and you have to make sure that Paul supporters are elected to the national convention.
So, the THIRD and FINAL QUESTION is this: Are those who are anxious to see Ron Paul succeed willing to do the things necessary? Are they ready to register Republican and get involved with Republican politics (if they haven't already)? Are they ready to play the political game?
If you are, there are a lot of us out here ready to help you out--we'll give you some ideas, we'll help you research your states, we'll let you bounce stuff off of us. If not, well, let's have fun with this little revolution, anyway.
It's time to decide, folks. The first delegates will be chosen with the New Hampshire primary; a lot will be chosen as a result of primaries and caucuses in the two months after that--we have 6 months to put a true organization together if we're going to!
**For those interested in doing some research,here's a link http://www.republicansource.com/primaries.htm to a site that has the essential details on delegate selection for the Republican party.