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Jack Hunter: The GOP Must Embrace Ron Paul or Lose

Political campaigns typically serve one of two purposes: 1. To win elections. 2. To build coalitions. The former is as important as the latter precisely because it is typically impossible to win elections without first building coalitions. Barry Goldwater was no doubt disappointed when he lost. Ronald Reagan was no doubt happy Goldwater ran.

In 2008, Ron Paul ignited a movement. Between then and 2012, Paul has amassed an army. Paul and his supporters’ growing numbers, whether in actual warm bodies or vote totals, have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled depending on how you gauge it. Paul and his movement now influence the Republican Party, it’s direction and it’s rhetoric in a way for more significant than anyone ever expected. And this has been true since the beginning of this election—where when many thought Paul might win Iowa and other early contests, they attempted to slander Dr. Paul or even make voters fear him (“he can’t win,” “he’s too extreme,” etc.). If that didn’t work, they tried to ignore him, with the media talking incessantly about eventual 2012 nobodies like Tim Pawlenty after the Iowa Straw Poll—even though Paul almost beat Michelle Bachmann for the top spot.

Whether they have feared Paul or tried to ignore him, the message of constitutional liberty has so pierced America’s political discourse that at this point it simply will not go away no matter how much Paul’s critics would like it to.

What the Republican Party is desperate for is a coherent conservative message that can excite its base. What the Republican Party is desperate for is a substantively conservative message that can also have broad appeal to independents and disenfranchised Democrats. What the Republican Party is desperate for is a candidate with a message that can beat Barack Obama.


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