CHICAGO, January 9, 2012 – If there is one thing you should never count out in politics, its Ron Paul; make that two things, if you count his supporters.
Even now, Paul, a Texas Congressman, is again closing the gap in the
Republican presidential frontrunners may come and go, beaten into submission by the mainstream media spotlight or Romney Super Pac ad spots, but the two intense political factions – smaller government constitutionalists and foreign policy non-interventionists - that make up Ron Paul’s support are of the sort that “never say die.”
And if the Illinois crowd that turned out to watch their hero, Ron Paul, at this weekend’s GOP presidential debate is any indication, they will be around for many an election cycle to come. It was with a sense of passion and resolve that more than 200 Ron Paul supporters packed the Wise Fools Pub in
Some sported “End the Fed” t-shirts. Others donned t-shirts emblazoned with Ron Paul’s knowing mug and the question: “Who is this man and why is he trying to save my country?” In truth, the energy was different than your standard issue Republican event.It was intense.
So what is Ron Paul’s secret to inspiring his supporters? “Freedom is popular,” shrugs Scott Davis, an
And it truly is.
Freedom from government interference is what drives Ron Paul supporters, just as it has ignited the passions of social and economic conservatives within the Tea Party movement. There is overlap between the two groups, the quest for economic independence being the flint for the fire.
In November 2010, a roaring political wildfire spread across the country delivering 63 seats in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to the Republican Party.
How this fire of political passions will spread and what it will deliver in 2012 remains to be seen.
But freedom is also a responsibility and Ron Paul supporters have always realized their duty to defend Paul’s political case.
Suspicious of mainstream media, they are well-versed in domestic and
It is a refreshing change. Some Ivy League graduates wouldn’t know a “Kim Jong-il” from the latest xbox.
But something has happened this election cycle that is different than the rest. The recognition of Ron Paul and his supporters as a powerful political segment has finally gone mainstream.
For proof, one need look no further than GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, who in Saturday’s debate, made a point of showing deference to Paul’s expertise on constitutional matters:
Back in December, Romney said he could support a Paul candidacy in the general election. “I’ve already crossed that river, if you will, by saying on stage a number of times…that all of the people on stage would be superior to the President we have. So yes, I would vote for him.”
However, when Paul began surging in the
It is a difficult tightrope for the GOP candidates as they simultaneously bash and praise each other, jockeying for votes while trying not to alienate their competitors’ supporters.
But Romney wasn’t the only one trying to score points with Paul supporters. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin issued a sharp scolding of her own to the GOP establishment Tuesday night:
The GOP had better not marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters after this [Iowa Caucus] because Ron Paul and his supporters understand that a lot of Americans are war weary and we are broke. He [Paul] has reached these constituencies that are concerned about the solvency of the U.S, and he has proposed solutions with his austerity measures that he would like to see implemented so the GOP had better listen to what these Ron Paul supporters are saying and had better work with them.
Savvy politicians like Palin understand Paul’s philosophy has struck a chord with a segment of difficult-to-reach voters. However, Paul has done more than reach them. He has inspired them and activated them. What makes the activism all the more compelling is the average age of the Ron Paul supporter. Most fall within the 18-24 year-old age bracket. But, unlike Obama whose support among young voters has fallen, Paul continues to attract.
In a different way, President Reagan also attracted blue collar Democrats to the Republican Party in the 1980s. Inspired by his sunny pro-American optimism and tough anti-communist platform, Reagan transformed conservatism and made it a powerful populist brand under the Republican banner. Today, it is Reagan’s brand of conservatism that presidential candidates like Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich aspire to.
Ron Paul and his supporters are also attempting to transform the Republican brand. “The important thing is that I have challenged the status quo, the corruption in
Win or lose in Tuesday’s
Conservative satirist and commentator William J. Kelly is also a contributor to Breitbart.com and edits the Tea Party Reports for the
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