Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Ron Paul's "Movement" Still Matters

Remember when we discussed this back in May?

As much as some grassroots folks on the left and the right love to see epic ideological battles unfold at party conventions and purge all "unsavory moderates" out of their respective parties, the fact of the matter is that doing that gets us no closer to winning elections. (If anything, that HURTS efforts to win elections.) While it's always important to promote the values we believe in and hold fast to them, we can't punish political parties for focus on party building while perhaps shirking "ideology enforcement" duties. After all, the first responsibility of a political party is to build the infrastructure necessary to win elections. [...]

And this is why Orrin Johnson is panicking. Ron Paul's supporters care deeply for their libertarian beliefs, and they're set to accept nothing less than full fealty to those beliefs. But in pursuing complete ideological purity, they're also set to lose a whole lot of elections because they simply don't care about that stuff. This is why Nevada Republicans are in such dire straits. And it should serve as an important lesson to all the rest of us trying to balance ideological wishes with political reality.

So far, this truly has come to full fruition. And it's happened in a way that's truly scared Nevada Republican "elites". And now, we're set to finally experience the climax of this epic saga.

Putting a candidate’s name up for nomination is not the same as voting for the ultimate nominee. Paul’s supporters would have to persuade 1,144 delegates to switch their vote to take the nomination away from Romney.

Given the fact that Romney has won an overwhelming majority of the delegates, and given the party’s requirement that results in early states are binding, that’s unlikely.

In Nevada, for example, 20 of the 28 delegates are required to vote for Romney as the ultimate nominee, even if the individual delegate personally supports Paul.

Still, Paul supporters will not acknowledge defeat.

“We’ve been communicating with some other Ron Paul delegates. ... Anything’s possible,” said Carl Bunce, Paul’s former Nevada campaign chairman. “That’s the way conventions work. Right now, the Romney campaign is making sure his (Paul’s) name doesn’t get on the ballot. But if his name gets on there and Rand speaks, and Ron speaks, people wake up. I’ve seen it happen.”

Oh yes, that's right. Ron Paul's intensely devoted fan club still can't give up their fantasy of Ron Paul becoming this year's Republican Presidential Nominee. Never mind that RNC leaders have already set up next week's GOP Convention in Tampa to be one giant coronation ceremony for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Yet even though Ron Paul has no realistic chance of wresting the G-O-TEA nomination away from Mitt Romney, Romney's campaign keeps running scared. Romney and RNC staffers have had to negotiate with Ron Paul loyalists, giving them a prime time speaking role for US Senator (and son of Ron) Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), "The Most Conservative [National Party] Platform in Modern History", and even more concessions, just to convince them not to "ruin Willard's big moment". Yet despite all this, Ron Paul's Nevada troops refuse to concede this fight. And depending on how far they intend to take their quixotic quest in Tampa next week, it may cause yet another political headache for an ailing Romney campaign.

After all, a good chunk of the G-O-TEA base never really warmed up to Romney. They're only backing him now in hopes that "Favorite Son" Paul Ryan will end up serving as "The De Facto President" if Romney wins... Or becomes the favorite for the 2016 GOP Nomination if Romney doesn't. Even though Ron Paul's devotees represent "the fringe of the ('tea party') fringe", they may nonetheless remind America of just how brutal the G-O-TEA primary season was... To Mitt Romney's political fantasies and ambition.

And this is how Ron Paul and his "movement" have managed to remain relevant all this year.

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