An “Undecided Voter?”
The Republican convention ended last night with Governor Mitt Romney formally accepting the Party nomination for President. There was a “tribute” to Ron Paul which was actually ill-received by many Paul supporters. A point of fact is that Ron Paul left the convention early and flew home. He was not present for the nominee’s festivities. Paul has stated that at this point he is “an undecided voter.” He has refused to fully endorse Romney and Paul’s followers are passionate in their support of…Ron Paul. They see themselves in a role that is unfamiliar to most Americans. For Paul supporters Ron Paul is more than a personality, he is a rallying point for a “new” style of government. Most of Ron Paul’s support is from a very young and idealistic age demographic. Paul does not fare nearly as well with voters over the age of 45. Why is that true? There is no doubt that his views on drug legalization and isolationism ring with a younger audience. There is also no doubt that his commitment to debt reduction and balancing the budget is music-to-the-ears of the generation that will have to pay the debt we are have and continue to incur. There is the fact that Paul and his people have used the internet very effectively and that, alone, appeals to a younger demographic. But there is a more fundamental motivation for Paul’s acolytes. Every generation that has ever lived has “rebelled” in one way or another. Every generation sees itself as anti-establishment at one time or another. Ron Paul has deepened that notion within young voters who now see no difference between the established parties. Their idealism is to be admired and their political naïvete called into question.
A Sixth Run For President
I was part of a conversation with a couple of Paul people discussing his lack of traction with those over the age of 45. Both young men were 20-somethings. One was very vocal that the coverage of Ron Paul by the media was the problem. He believed that those of us over 45 had never heard of Ron Paul and that we knew nothing of his politics or we would be as ardent in our support as he was. I replied that while I admired Paul’s economic policies and would like to see many of them implemented, there are other parts of his policies (i.e., foreign) that simply were unworkable in today’s world. I also suggested that this is Paul’s sixth run for President and that most of us over the age of 45 were very familiar with his libertarian platform. I further observed that Paul had been espousing the same doctrines for over 20 years and had never gained traction. Something the generation that had just discovered him ought to consider. Those of us over the age of 45 saw Ross Perot hand an election to Bill Clinton and we don’t want to see Ron Paul cause the same result and hand the election to an Administration that is doing all it can to undermine that traditional values that made this country great. Ross Perot was not viewed favorably enough to be elected by the American people, and neither is Ron Paul.
The young men with whom I spoke said they intend to do one of three things. First, to write-in Ron Paul for President; second, if not that, then vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate; or third, and they said, most likely, sit out the election in November. When I questioned how they could call themselves “Republicans” and do any of the three, they both said they would rather hand the election to the liberal Democrats than vote for Romney. Their comment was, “we voted in the primary process.” What they left unsaid is, “And because we didn’t get our way, we’re going to punish everyone else. One of the young men made this comment toward the end of our conversation. He said, “I would rather vote for Ron Paul and the truth than to betray my country.” His implication was that a vote for Romney equated to betrayal. I left him with my response, “If you sit out the election or vote for someone that allows this nation to become a totalitarian state, won’t you be guilty of the very treason you now judge?” If Ron Paul and his supporters wanted to start a third party or wanted to support the libertarian platform, he should have run under the Libertarian banner or as an independent party candidate. Paul speaks often of integrity, but to run as a Republican and then not endorse and support that party’s ultimate nominee lacks integrity. To encourage his followers to do anything but campaign as Republicans is duplicitous at minimum. Ron Paul has used the Republican Party to gain the spotlight, he owes them his allegiance.