Will Defecting from the GOP Help Ron Paul's Supporters Take It Over?
Over the last year, many of Paul’s supporters have claimed that the GOP can’t win without them. That’s either a threat or a promise. As any parent knows, neither should be made emptily.
Following all of the shenanigans against them throughout the Primary season, and the RNC’s decision in Tampa to alienate them completely, Paul’s supporters have been considering how to vote in November.
Although most of them would like nothing more than to write his name in, they know that in most states, such write-in votes would not be counted, so as a statement of principle or protest, they would be rather ineffective, however satisfying they’d be to cast.
Therefore, I recently polled the 13,000-strong community of Blue Republicans, all Ron Paul supporters, to find out for whom they intended to vote for President.
An overwhelming 66% said they would be voting for Gary Johnson – the Libertarian candidate who shall be the only candidate other than Obama and Romney on the ballot in every state (absent yet more GOP mafia tactics). Sixteen (16) percent will be writing in Ron Paul, even though most don’t expect their vote to be counted, and Romney will attract the votes of a negligible 6%. (Margin of error +/-4%.)
These results may have serious implications for November’s election and signal the real possibly of an exciting shift in the trajectory of American politics.
The liberty movement is united in its belief that America’s two-party system, rather than a single party alone has brought America to crisis. Its members understand that those issues of agreement between the parties are much more important than are any issues on which they traditionally disagree.
There are myriad examples. Both parties support a monetary system that systematically moves wealth away from productive earners to a financial elite that operate under special government license; both parties favor cronies with well-paid lobbyists; both support a militaristic foreign policy that leads to loss of innocent life in countries from which we are not threatened; both parties have worked hard to eliminate the first, fourth, fifth and tenth amendments of your Bill of Rights through, for example, the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and FinCEN (look it up), to name just a few.
The duopoly has for decades ensured that when the partisan Elephants and Donkeys agree on an issue, the people have no way of democratically acting on their own interests at the ballot box. This used to be the case because it was impossible for any third party to receive enough votes to influence the outcome of an election or even the flavor of politics that would follow it.
But today, things may be different. The liberty movement, two million of whom voted for Dr. Paul in the Republican primaries, is now a large, politically active and unusually coherent political force. Many of its core themes are consistent with much of what the Republicans say they stand for, but have arguably not acted on since Eisenhower retired to his farm.
Every presidential election since Reagan has been won by a margin of no more than 8.5%. That translates to about 11 million votes today.
For all I know, there may well have been 11 million people in this country who would have preferred a more pro-liberty, pro-Constitution, anti-cronyism, anti-militarism, smaller-government president to the guy who actually won in all of those elections. Indeed, on the two occasions a non-establishment candidate, Ross Perot, campaigned with full media coverage, his vote exceeded this 8.5% - and that was without benefiting from an organic and passionate political movement with a well-defined philosophy.
More importantly, right now, millions of Paul’s supporters who are against the status quo have an even deeper revulsion of the party that should embrace them, the GOP, than of the other party whose politics are even more antithetical to their own. The RNC’s disenfranchisement of Paul’s supporters have made large numbers of them feel in their gut that the “lesser of two evils” is really more “evil” than “lesser”, and a vote for the Republicans would be something like buying a “thank you” gift for the man who just burgled your house.
Is eleven million impossible? That rather depends on how many Ron Paul supporters there really are.
Despite the fact that a significant minority of Paul’s supporters feel that differences between their man and Johnson are show-stoppers, a large showing for Johnson could have some of the significant practical effects that they have been seeking all along.
First, it would help expand the liberty movement’s rEVOLution by getting it televised – at least, as a discussed statistic on the news shows on election night. That’s important because the rest of the country is awaiting proof that the liberty movement has the size and the wherewithal to impose itself on the mainstream.
No revolution in a country with such a dispersed population as the USA will likely be successful without being televised: because the beaming of a thing into every living room is the only way the people who are sitting in those living rooms – its non-participants – will really believe it’s happening. A political or cultural revolution changes a society only if it is visible and dramatic, for then people find that their old ideas no longer enable them to make sense of what is happening around them or, at least, make them curious enough to see what all the fuss is about.
A large Johnson vote beamed into American homes on 6 Nov. may do more to get people Googling his views and seriously considering the possibility of something other than the two-party system than any campaign ads he can make or money he can spend. And if his vote exceeds the margin of victory of the winner, and the pundits point out that Ron Paul’s following is mostly responsible, the Paulites will have ceased to be politically marginal, by definition.
Second, a large Johnson swing could hugely boost Ron Paul’s supporters in realizing one of their greatest political ambitions - a takeover of the GOP. Ron Paul has said – and proven in the last year – that the weakness of our democracy is such that working within a Republicrat party allows people to have a much larger platform and affect many more minds. If Gary Johnson does really well as a third-party candidate in November, it will likely be because Ron Paul didn’t run as one.
A Romney loss in November by less than the Johnson vote could force the GOPowers-that-be to consider a leader in 2016 who is credible with Constitutional voters who like their individual liberties.
As of now, the obvious beneficiary of such an outcome would be Rand Paul. Some in the liberty movement have never quite forgiven him for endorsing Mitt Romney, but that is probably to mistake a man’s methods for his principles and to take too lightly the importance of having an insider for an ally. Politics is a place for principles - not purism.
Saying Rand isn’t broadly pro-liberty because he endorsed Romney is like saying Obama isn’t broadly progressive because he has not collectivized farms. To both claims, the appropriate response is simply, “Look at everything else he’s done”. And most importantly, in supporting Romney, Rand kept a promise he made when he ran for Senate in Kentucky. That promise won him the support of the party that put him in the Senate, where, among other things, he defeated legislation that would have enabled the indefinite detention of Americans found innocent in a court of Law. Keeping one’s word is justification for anything that does no harm. When it does good, all the better.
But the ultimate justification for Rand’s approach would of course come be his presence on the inside when the party realizes it needs a liberty-focused Constitutionalist to lead its makeover after a few months of pondering defeat.
Very Sun-Tzu: “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”
If not Rand, then others: politicians support what is becoming more popular so that they may become more popular. If a large turn-out for Gary Johnson reveals that that civil rights are growing in popularity with the speed that the main parties are losing theirs, then all those peace-loving liberty fans who have worked so valiantly to take over positions in their county and state GOP may find that in a few years they’ll be able to vote for someone in their own party with a completely clear conscience.
And that would be a rEVOLution, indeed.