Blah, blah, blah, Ron Paul is awesome.
As college students, we’ve all heard them –– Ron Paul supporters who rant and rave about how their libertarian savior is going to bring freedom back to the country, legalize pot and pull us out of Afghanistan. Allow my prickly beard to burst the idealistic bubble for you all: Ron Paul could never be president. And considering the circumstances, that’s probably the biggest compliment anyone could give him.
What Americans claim to crave from their politicians is honesty. We say we want the truth, but when it comes right down to it, the facts can be downright depressing. So instead we go for a candidate who tells us what we want to hear. We go for a candidate who claims their political party was doing it right all along. We vote for whomever can scream their pre-written talking points the loudest. Love him or hate him, Ron Paul isn’t that guy.
Ron Paul is running for the Republican Party’s nomination, but in many respects, it’s hard to see why. As a libertarian, Paul believes in a small government that doesn’t mess with America’s free-market economy (totally kosher for Republicans). But Paul also believes the federal government should keep it’s hands off same-sex marriage, get rid of torture and pull out of all foreign wars (all about as kosher as a roasted pig wrapped in bacon).
What’s worse, Ron Paul has held the same views on just about everything since he was elected to Congress in the 1970s. Compared to every single Republican front runner, Ron Paul is the only one who hasn’t been made a fool of by flip-flopping opinions. Michele Bachmann is pretty consistent as well, but being consistently crazy is rarely a positive attribute.
Ron Paul is really the only viable Republican candidate who hasn’t made a fool of himself, period. Whether it’s Rick “Oops, I did it again” Perry fumbling through a debate, or Herman “selective memory loss” Cain fumbling through a co-workers underclothes, each candidate that has seen a sharp rise in popularity has been cut off by a corresponding scandal.
Ron Paul represents a drastically changing voting demographic for the Republican Party. His supporters aren’t interested in comparing religious views, protecting family values or reincarnating Ronald Reagan. They’re interested in absolute freedom, in the very core sense of the word. And that gives the old guard, Republicans and Democrats, the heebie-jeebies.
Unfortunately, this is what dooms Ron Paul from the very beginning. In order to become president, it’s absolutely necessary to be endorsed by one of two major political parties. In order to be endorsed by one of these parties, a candidate must win votes during the primary/caucus cycle taking place now, something Paul just can’t do.
In a general election, it’s very likely that Ron Paul could give President Obama a run for his money. In an election within the Republican party, Paul doesn’t stand a chance. With each candidate trying to out-conservative each other, there just isn’t room for radical ideas.
The real irony of the situation, is that Ron Paul might be the only chance the Republican Party has at unseating Barack Obama next November. With a firm grip on a loyal block of college-age voters, Paul steals votes that would otherwise go to Obama, giving Republicans their first ever shot at attaining the youth vote.
But Ron Paul won’t win the Republican nomination because he’s not really a Republican at all. He’s a true Libertarian, trying to hitch a ride into the White House on the coattails of a political party that claims to be his kin.
While I often feel more comfortable on the left side of politics, Ron Paul has made me question exactly where my loyalties should lie. Smaller government sounds a lot better when it’s carried over into all aspects of politics, including social issues that conservatives often abhor, like same-sex marriage or legalization of marijuana. Consistency is why Ron Paul has supporters in the first place, but it won’t win him any friends amongst GOP regulars.
It’s a pity, but this election is again looking like it’s going to be a choice between two political parties, instead of two individual candidates. Like it or not, as long as Mitt Romney doesn’t have literal skeletons stashed away in his closet, he’s the only Republican who has a chance at winning the nomination. And that will most likely mean a pretty easy win for Barack Obama.
Unless of course someone were to run as a third party candidate, stealing votes from both Democrats and Republicans and creating mass chaos among the party elites … but who would be crazy enough to do that?