Why a Third-Party Candidacy Makes Sense for Ron Paul

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The
‘What’s Next’ Series

 
 

Until Super
Tuesday, many Ron Paul supporters believed his efforts to win the
presidency were best served by remaining within the Republican Party.
They believed the primaries would end in a brokered convention from
which Paul could emerge as the "compromise" candidate.
Proponents of this scenario argued that Paul must remain a Republican,
for history tells us that third-party candidates have no chance
of winning the presidency.

The results
of Super Tuesday, however, tell us that Paul now has no chance of
winning the GOP nomination. Even if front-runner John McCain doesn’t
lock up the nomination, a brokered convention of neocon delegates
will choose Joe Lieberman ahead of Ron Paul.

Winning the
GOP nomination would be a hollow victory anyhow, for the Party hierarchy
has shown itself willing
to undermine Paul’s candidacy
. The already-faltering GOP fundraising
machine would be unlikely to shower corporate donations upon a candidate
who opposes pork on principle. And given that millions of Americans
have become so outraged at this Administration that they have sworn
off voting Republican forever, the nomination could be more drag
than lift.

Running as
a Republican had benefits. The campaign generated media attention
and organized followers. But now it’s plain that wresting control
of the GOP from the neocons for this election cycle is a lost cause.

Everything
changes once Ron Paul goes to a third party, however. He would no
longer be an "Also Ran," he would be "The Spoiler."
As with Nader in 2000, the establishment parties could ignore him
only at their peril. Even if he never rises above single digits
in the polls, his ideas would continue to gain a public hearing.

But a third-party run wouldn’t be just about education. There is a good chance
Paul could win that way. Yes, historically third parties have failed
in presidential elections, but in the past third parties have always
represented fringe viewpoints – whereas today, the major parties
represent fringe viewpoints, while Paul’s views harmonize with those
of most Americans.

For example,
most Americans want
the Iraq War to end
. The major-party candidates, however, hold
the fringe view that we should continue the war through the next
presidential term. In a three-way race, Ron Paul would be the only
candidate who agrees with the majority that we should leave Iraq
now.

Likewise, most
Americans oppose illegal immigration
. The major-party candidates,
however, hold the fringe view of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.
In a three-way race, Ron Paul would be the only candidate who agrees
with the majority that we should stop illegal immigration.

The biggest
issue in the election is the economy, and yes, unfortunately, most
Americans think the solution to the current economic crisis is "more
stimulus."
However, in a three-way race, the economic ignorance
of the major-party candidates would soon be exposed, while Ron Paul
has the expertise to coherently explain the interrelationship between
spending, deficits, and inflation, and impress the public that he
is the only one who engages in analysis rather than pandering.

Thus, in a
three-way presidential race, Ron Paul would be the voice of moderation,
while the major parties would be seen as hijacked by socialist and
imperialist fringe factions. Once this truth sinks in, most Americans
will find that Paul is not a "fringe candidate" but instead
the only candidate who champions their concerns. (No, Beltwayites,
the Constitution is not a "fringe issue!")

It was good
that Ron Paul ran as a Republican, but now let’s move on. There’s
no point crying over Paul’s failure to win the Republican nomination,
as corruption has alienated so many voters that the GOP is in danger
of extinction anyway. Better to run as the candidate of a third
party, than of a doomed party.

True, history
says that third-party presidential candidates can’t win. But long
ago, a certain group of revolutionaries contemplated that no colony
had ever successfully rebelled from its mother country. Nonetheless,
they went ahead with their enterprise, which by all accounts has
been successful. Apparently, they were living in one of those major
turning points in history for which the old rules do not apply.
And you know, they didn’t even have the Internet.

February
7, 2008

Joe
Schembrie [send him mail]
is a writer who lives in Bellevue, Washington.

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