I was listening to a recent episode of The Lew Rockwell Show in which Lew was being interviewed by Alex Jones regarding the chances of Ron Paul winning the 2012 GOP nomination and subsequently the general election in November 2012. Rather than go into what Lew and Alex discussed (you can listen to the show through the link provided above), I want to provide my own thoughts and analysis on the subject.
Can Ron Paul win? I believe the answer to this is “yes.” However, to hear the mainstream liberal and conservative media tell the story, Ron Paul is “unelectable.” Let’s examine that phrase for a moment. To say “Ron Paul is unelectable” is both premature — given the fact we’re still in the early stages of the GOP primary — and patently false! Ron Paul has been elected 11 separate times (4 times for Texas’ 22nd congressional district and 7 times to Texas’ 14th congressional district), so to say he is “unelectable” is absurd! “Oh, but that’s only to a congressional district. He hasn’t been elected to any state-wide or nation-wide office.” Of course. No one running has been elected to nation-wide office as there is only one nation-wide office — President of the United States.
As to being elected to state-wide office, there is some merit to this argument, but this argument applies not only to Ron Paul, but also to Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich; all of whom, with the exception of Herman Cain (who hasn’t been elected to any office) have only been elected to congressional districts. If this argument applies to Ron Paul because he’s only been elected to a congressional district, it also applies to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, who have only been elected in a particular state. Mitt Romney’s appeal may win him the northeast, but it isn’t going to help him in the south; and vice versa for Rick Perry. This is just a smokescreen.
“Well, Ron Paul is unelectable because he is only polling in the 10% – 15% range, while Romney and Perry are polling in the 20% – 30% range.” OK, and what’s the point? Tim Pawlenty (remember him?) was one of the early conservative favorites in this race and he couldn’t get above 5% in the polls and eventually dropped out after the Iowa straw poll after coming in a very distant 3rd place. Bachman, whose stock rose after the Iowa straw poll, has fallen back down into the realm of the insignificant. Rick Perry, who vaulted to the top of the polls when he entered, has crashed back down to earth after three dismal debate performances. Herman Cain was a non-factor until the Florida debate and straw poll, and now he’s the new “top tier” candidate. The point in mentioning all of this is that it’s way too early to say someone is “unelectable.” Especially considering the fact that Ron Paul consistently finishes around 3rd in most polls and receives a steady 10% – 15% support in the polls.
So why is Ron Paul considered “unelectable?” Well, it’s certainly isn’t based on anything remotely corresponding to reality. Therefore, it has to be ideological. Ron Paul is a libertarian. As such, he will find some appeal from both the left and the right. Ron Paul will appeal to those on the left because he supports a foreign policy of peace and diplomacy and because he supports civil liberties. However, the left will view him as unelectable because he also favors a very limited government, a reduction and transition from the welfare state, and low to no taxation. Therefore, the “big government” left will be wary of him. To the political right, those very things the left finds anathema (limited government, no welfare state, no taxation), are sweet music to their ears. However, Dr. Paul’s foreign policy and embrace of civil liberties tends to rankle those on the right (of course I’m speaking in broad generalities).
So ideologically speaking, whether from the left or from the right, Ron Paul holds positions that some might deem as “unelectable.” Yet let’s look at the bigger picture. As a libertarian, Ron Paul is articulating a consistently principled position, and that principle is individual liberty. Individual liberty has both an economic aspect (which appeals to the right) and a personal aspect (which appeals to the left). Furthermore, individual liberty has a foreign policy aspect as well — namely, non-interventionism. Ron Paul would argue, and I would agree, you cannot be for individual liberty unless you’re for both economic liberty and personal liberty. We cannot be free unless we’re free in our person and our choices.
I think if more on the left and the right understood this — i.e., if they drilled down from the level of issues and positions to the level of first principles — they would understand this better. However, because ideology drives most of what we all do, many of those on both the left and the right will not support Ron Paul because they can’t support him on 100% of the issues; even though they’re the ones who are being inconsistent with the principle of individual liberty.
I think the main reason why the constant drumbeat that Ron Paul is “unelectable” is because he is a threat, a very serious threat, to the status quo. If you look at who the top donors are to each candidate in this election cycle, you will see some very revealing things. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have at the top of their respective lists major financial corporations such as Goldman-Sachs. Now if you’re against corporatism and “crony capitalism,” then you may want to consider voting for someone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Big corporations are supporting Obama and Romney, whereas Ron Paul has raised most of his support from small donations from individuals. Recently, Dr. Paul’s campaign held a “money bomb” that raised well over $1M and the average contribution was $50. That’s a lot of individual contributions. Ron Paul is clearly generating the groundswell of a grassroots revolution, while Obama and Romney seem to be the favorites of the corporate lobbyists.
A Ron Paul presidency would put an end to the influence major corporations would have on the White House, and that means an end to all the bailouts to failing financial corporations. This would be a big boon to individual liberty, but a death knell to the crony capitalism that plagued both the Bush and Obama administrations. Is it any wonder why there seems to be a chorus of voices decrying Ron Paul as “unelectable?”
The bottom line in all of this is YOU — the American voter. The only person who is unelectable is the person you don’t vote for. Now you can listen to all of the talking heads on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc. tell you that Ron Paul is unelectable, or you can educate yourself and make an informed decision on your own. Ron Paul has consistently preached a message of individual liberty for his whole political career. If you like the idea of free people, free markets and a peaceful foreign policy, then the only candidate in this election preaching this message is Ron Paul! If you value the U.S. Constitution and want a president who will follow and honor the supreme law of the land instead of trample all over it and expand his reach into your lives, then vote for Ron Paul! Ron Paul is the only candidate who will honor and follow the Constitution. If you really believe in American “exceptionalism,” then vote for Ron Paul. Ron Paul is the only candidate who is offering real solutions to real problems and not more of the same rhetoric and solutions that have failed to turn this country around.
But, hey, don’t take my word for it, check him out for yourself.