Ron Paul is in the news, and he has a serious shot at winning Iowa, so I think it’s time I finally weigh in… though not on what I think of him (I don’t need a paragraph, let alone an essay, to say that I would never support him).
I also have no need in weighing on the question of whether Ron Paul will be the nomi… pffft HA HA HA, sorry, sorry… I couldn’t even finish that sentence. Paul will never be the nominee. Paul has a better shot at winning a Democratic Party nomination than a Republican Party nomination in his lifetime.
But his campaign isn’t empty or futile, and it may have far-reaching ramifications.
One thing to consider is how this will affect the Republican Party. I predict that Romney will be the nominee and will lose to Obama. If this happens, I really think the Republican Party will “soul search,” or whatever it is that evil, soulless trolls do when they reassess things (I guess pray?). If Democrats somehow manage to win 2016 on top of all of this (if I had to guess who could, I would bet it would be Hillary Clinton), I bet the odds of the Republican Party radically altering itself goes through the roof.
One direction the Republicans might take is towards courting Libertarianism. While not a popular ideology among traditional (i.e. old) Republicans, it is the most popular right-leaning, conservative stance among the young. Young people see through the Neo-Con bullshit. People under 35 have no interest in marginalizing gay people, racial minorities, women, immigrants, non-Christians… or really any of the groups that Republicans traditionally rally around hating. If the Republican Party has a future, it’s probably in Libertarianism.
Ron Paul isn’t many things: sane, relevant, informed, probably not electable outside of Texas… but he is a libertarian, and those other four things have never been important for a Republican nominee. Ron Paul may be the model for future Republican presidential candidates, I just doubt he’ll live to see it happen (I’m thinking maybe by 2020, when Paul would be 91).
But Paul isn’t totally out quite yet, so it’s not just about his legacy. Paul won’t be running for re-election to his house seat, which he’s had for so long that he’s probably unsure of how he’ll pack up his office without the help of the slaves who helped him move in. This presidential run is potentially the last election for Paul, and while I am confident he won’t get the nomination, he just might pull a Nader.
If Paul runs as an Independent or Libertarian and draws votes away from Romney, you can ignore [more than you would otherwise] all of that stuff I said earlier. If people blame Paul and the Libertarians for Obama getting re-elected (and don’t kid yourselves, Obama will likely win either way), you can probably forget about Republicans and Libertarians ever getting along. In fact, it might spur the long-stalled rise of the Libertarian Party, which has tried in vain to be politically relevant since the 70s.
Libertarians have often just been people who vote Republican and don’t have the balls to admit so in public, but there are others who have merely identified with the Libertarian ideals while acknowledging the party not currently viable. Many libertarians are basically like me: they abstain from voting, especially for the office of president, not out of a lack of interest, but from frustration at the “choice” we have forced upon us by the lowest common denominators on both sides.
In many ways, I am rooting for Libertarians to come into their own, not just slowly infiltrate the Republican party. While I’m not Libertarian, I do favor Libertarianism over Republicanism, and more than that, I would love for a more diverse political landscape in America.
But it’s all up in the air. I’m merely speculating on what I think could happen. I am confident of one thing, however: Ron Paul will leave a mark on American politics that will far exceed his results in this, probably his final presidential bid or political race of any kind.