Reality checkSubmitted by Bryan96 on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 12:50
Many of you sound like nuts when it comes to primary election results. You don't understand how presidential primaries work so you jump to the conspiracy conclusion. Vote fraud! Vote flipping! It's not helpful.
Unfortunately, Ron Paul just wasn't popular enough to win a Republican primary this year. There were all kinds of real reasons for that: media propaganda, hostility from party elites, questionable campaign strategies (and not just Jesse Benton; RP's refusal to "pander" was part of the problem...I'd call it tailoring your message for your audience or putting your best foot forward; it goes against RP's nature to engage in this type of politicking and it hurt him), too-frequent money bombs that exhausted the faithful, ads that were clever but too macho to help close the gender gap, refusal to squarely address the foreign policy/Israel issues in advertising, too many closed primaries, too many winner-take-all or proportional primaries where the minimum bar was too high, and imperfect candidate attributes (ill-fitting suit for most debates, not always leading with the strongest answer, getting off-topic at times...of course, in some debates and interviews he hit it out of the ball park).
Finally, the role of momentum--or lack thereof--was crucial. Most Republicans will not vote for a candidate who they think cannot win the nomination. Why waste a vote? is their attitude. So the polls showing Paul running well against Obama--sometimes stronger than Romney--were rightly publicized by the campaign, but they couldn't overcome the perception that Paul had no chance to win the nomination itself. The campaign's clumsy public pulling of the plug on primary contests in May made this problem even worse in the remaining primary states
None of those things have anything to do with voting machine fraud. There's little or no evidence that such fraud has ever occurred. The fact that you don't "know anyone who supports Romney" just means you're not hanging out with typical Republican voters.
If Ron Paul could have won Iowa in January--there's no reason to think the straw poll results weren't accurately counted--and followed that victory up with a win in New Hampshire or even a stronger second-place finish, it might have been a different story. It's possible the grassroots Christians and populists might have deserted Santorum and Gingrich and joined the Paul effort. It didn't happen.
Even with back-to-back wins in Iowa and NH the odds of winning the nomination would have still been stiff. Look at what happened to Taft in 1952, Reagan in 1976, and Buchanan in 1996. It's important to know some history so you can put these contests in context. If you understand how exit polls work, you don't have to write things like "They've declared Romney the winner with 0% of the votes counted!" Nothing unusual or fraudulent about that. It's not because Paul is in the race. That's the way it's always done. If the exit polls show a 10 or 20% lead, the networks can confidently predict the outcome. The polls are accurate. If a poll shows Paul polling 15% on the eve of a primary and he receives 15% of the vote that suggests the votes were counted accurately. So, for example, to think "they" flipped Romney's votes in Texas with Paul's votes is absurd on the face of it. It discredits the accuser. It tarnishes the campaign because it sounds like whining and craziness.
Despite the wonderful improvement in campaign results between 2008 and 2012, the Paul '12 effort was never comparable to Goldwater '64 or Reagan '76. Or even Buchanan '96. The base was never broad enough. Broader than 2008, thankfully, but still not broad enough to win state contests outright when mass numbers were voting. Let's address that problem for the future rather than pretending the problem doesn't exist.
Ron Paul is clearly the best person to be president. Unfortunately, that fact was only clear to 8-25% of those voting in Republican contests. Not enough to win a nomination. I fully support the drive to continue picking up delegates at state conventions (I'm running for a delegate slot myself in an upcoming convention), but those delegates were never going to be enough to overcome the Romney lead in primary states with bound delegates. That's the reality of things. An unpleasant reality but still real. How does it help the campaign or the causes we believe in to live in an alternate fantasy world?
I know this isn't what many of you want to hear. Yes, I've been a DP member for only four or five months. No, I'm not a troll or a Romney supporter. I've been an admirer of Paul since he was first elected to Congress in 1976 and he was urging Republicans back then to support Gov. Reagan in his challenge to the liberal Rockefeller establishment of the GOP. I caucused for him in 2008 and 2012 and I've been giving money to his campaigns for many years. I'm not a Johnny-come-lately. I'm someone who understands how politics works and knows American political history. I get tired of well-meaning but deluded Paul supporters raising the hopes of fellow supporters with talk of winning the Texas primary or California primary or even the South Dakota primary. Or pretending that we "really did" win those primaries but the votes weren't counted accurately. That's all nonsense and in the end it's dispiriting nonsense.
Let's do what we can to win as many delegates as possible, to influence the platform and VP selection, to get RP a primetime speaking spot, to assure his name can be placed in nomination, to lay the groundwork for future campaigns, to change the direction of state and local parties, etc. Those are things that are part of the real world. The campaign was never in vain even though the chances of winning the nomination were always slim. Effort for a worthy cause is never wasted.