Establishment political personalities are quick to claim poor "electability" to diminish Ron Paul's chances because they presume that Paul holds no positive advantage in a head-to-head matchup against Obama in the general election. That's an apparent premise of their calculation.
This is either a sublime miscalculation or a profound deception. If Ron Paul can win the Republican nomination, the path to the White House could seem downhill by comparison. Why?
Unprecedented debt circumstances demand an unprecedented reimagining of US government priorities and obligations. The U.S. national debt is categorically unsustainable and literally, it's now mathematically impossible to repay, too. That the debt, banking, and finance system is increasingly proven to be a rigged Ponzi scheme in mainstream media only underlines Ron Paul's tenured criticism of the oligarchical Federal Reserve System itself. Further, increasing numbers of voters awaken daily to the direct correlation between endless foreign interventionism and that categorically unsustainable debt that vexes the nation.
Indeed, from wars, rumors of wars, a fading dollar, climbing prices, hopeless unemployment, and an overreaching federal police state, the time is ripe for Ron Paul's small-government message.
There's merely that small prerequisite for the general election: winning the Republican nomination.
The first contest, the Iowa caucus, is an activist-gathering, hand-raising event that heavily favors a strong ground organization. Ron Paul, by all accounts, enjoys a robust ground organization in Iowa — the strongest of the field. Ron's numbers are up recently in Iowa, too, leading many previously dismissive pundits to consider seriously the prospect of a Paul victory next month.
After all, Paul fell just short of winning the Ames Straw Poll in August by a mere 150 votes to Michelle Bachmann, who's since collapsed utterly from relevance — or posing any serious threat of repeating. Bachmann was merely the first of several anybody-but-Romney candidates to grab the "frontrunner" baton for a few precious moments of prime time.
The momentum for Ron Paul coming out of an Iowa victory could roll right through New Hampshire, considered a more libertarian-leaning electorate, and in turn, trigger Romney's long-inevitable glass house collapse.
Despite a hiccup here or there, maybe in South Carolina, no other already-passed-the-baton "frontrunner" could stop Ron Paul after victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire. So there you go: early victories, nomination, a speech, and on to the general election.
In that general election matchup, Ron Paul would make short work of Obama, for these eleven reasons.
- Ron Paul significantly outclasses Obama in any extemporaneous, conventionally conceivable economic or foreign policy debate format not involving teleprompters. How does Obama justify expanding the bailouts, the wars, and the police state at home after promising the opposite — "hope and change" — throughout his 2008 campaign? Filling his cabinet with crony bankster speculators and lobbyists? Secretly bailing out insiders and foreign banks alike? How does Obama defend Solyndra or Fast and Furious? Answer: He can't.
- Ron Paul wins the issue of war and foreign policy for anti-war liberals, independents, libertarians, and constitutional conservatives. Don't look now, but that's a sizable and growing coalition, and one that isn't currently gauged by restricting polling samples to GOP primary likely Republican voters. There's upside there, too, as Paul makes progress with traditional Bush-supporting "conservatives" who begin to recognize that wars cost trillions, and the U.S. is flat broke.
- Ron Paul wins the domestic police state issue before the debate even begins. After all, Obama is the one on that stage who must answer for gratuitous TSA abuse. Seemingly all voters have either had bad experiences themselves with the TSA, or have heard anecdotes from friends or relatives describing the rampant violations of dignity and body so common now to airport travel. Everyone's heard the stories about TSA agents raping, stealing, leering, and murdering. Would Obama attempt to suggest that the TSA keeps us safe — by exposing our children to pat-downs by pedophiles?
Ron Paul wins the federal drug war issue by arguing to end it. By killing that decades-old federal boondoggle, Paul wins the support of most California, Washington, Nevada, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, and Oregon medical marijuana patients who've watched as Obama's DEA raids state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries contrary to state law. You know who else would appreciate an end to federal drug enforcement? Minority populations, who are disproportionately prosecuted for nonviolent federal drug crimes. Still think Obama has an unquestionable advantage with minority groups? How is this growing coalition of voters even quantified?
Ron Paul wins the abortion issue. Ron Paul is unabashedly pro-life in his personal life, and as an obstetrician, he speaks with conviction — from wisdom and personal professional experience. He will own the Christian vote on this issue, obviously. But Paul argues that the federal government holds no jurisdiction over the issue, and if individual states wish to pass more restrictive or permissive laws, those states should pursue the legislation that best fits their unique populations.
Ron Paul wins the homeschool, pro-organic, anti-mandatory vaccination, and other pro-liberty niche crowds. Who else but Ron Paul has argued for the rights of the people to consume raw milk? Who else but Ron Paul has proposed granting tax credits and more freedom to homeschooling families to set their own curricula? Contrast this with Obama's attempts to nationalize education standards further on the back of Bush's overreaching "No Child Left Behind," and the more recent viral images of armed FDA goons raiding organic food store Rawesome Foods in Venice, California. Yep, even more Californians sympathetic to Paul.
Republicans will turn out en masse to support the GOP nominee — even if it's Ron Paul. Consider how anti-Obama the lowest common denominator of GOP talking points has become, as voiced by pundits, talk radio, and primary candidates in the debates. Making Obama a "one-term President," repealing "Obamacare," and so on.
The Tea Party rallies behind Ron Paul because his Trillion Dollar Plan is a perfect ideological match. After all, Ron Paul supporters are the ones who started the Tea Party movement in 2007 — the proto-Tea Party. As far as the electorate recognizes the problem to be government spending, Ron Paul is the clear answer.
Ron Paul wins on auditing and ending the Federal Reserve. Who can claim that the US has a "free market" despite artificial price fixing of interest rates at the very core of the economy? What free market advocate supports crony secret taxpayer-funded bailouts of speculators and foreign banks? The Tea Party and the entire GOP field now parrots Ron Paul on the Federal Reserve.
Ron Paul wins on torture and the Bill of Rights. Let Obama attempt to characterize water boarding as something other than torture, as his neocon counterparts have, and Ron Paul will provide a stark contrast — an iconic symbol of authentic, principled "hope and change." As for the Bill of Rights in general, Ron Paul wins clearly with any voter who cherishes the idea of not having to present his or her papers at random checkpoints; for whom government surveillance of citizens is anathema; who cherishes the idea that the government is the slave to the people and not the other way around; or in particular relevance to the Obama record — to anyone who cherishes the idea that we have a right to be left alone.
Circumstances and current events in November, 2012, will play right into Ron Paul's wheelhouse. This one is the clincher. After repeated, nefarious inflations of the money supply through bailouts and Fed treasury purchases, Obamaflation will be unmistakable at the grocery store, the doctor's office, and at the fuel pump. Gold will be well over $2,200/ounce. And after an eleven-year string of templated, bankrupting, and needless interventionist wars abroad, voters won't be easily convinced that high gas prices are solely Iran's fault. Ron Paul is expertly capable of clearly articulating the causation between interventionist foreign policy and poor economic circumstances at home — including the inflation that will be hitting voters right smack in their wallets as they head to the voting booths.
I say "conventionally conceivable" because it seems there'd be one offsetting chance here for Obama: cancel the debates. And the election.
One thing's clear, though: if Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, the debate moderators will have much more difficulty ignoring him on a stage of two or three than in the midst of eight or more in the GOP primary debates.
There's a significant portion of Obama's base that elected him based on his antiwar rhetoric, which he subsequently abandoned upon inauguration. These disillusioned liberals and independents have witnessed Obama expand the war in Afghanistan as he drew down symbolic numbers in Iraq (and replaced those troops with mercenaries). They watched Obama expand the front in Pakistan with collateral damage-inflicting drone strikes — even as he launched a completely new conflict in Libya — without a declaration or even an unconstitutional authorization from Congress.
The most depraved recent offense? Obama executed an American citizen and his children in Yemen without a trial, presentation of evidence, or any authentication whatsoever of the speech crimes allegedly committed by him. (Anwar Al-Awlaki, this new Boogeyman/Goldstein/Osama, had himself questionable ties to the US military industrial complex shortly after 9/11.) Consider that with Ron Paul and Barack Obama on a debate stage, Obama becomes the pro-war candidate. Needless to say, any voter who trends anti-war will likely vote for Ron Paul.
With domestic surveillance, Obama essentially expanded Bush's worst abuses and then argued for more. Even more disaffected liberals and independents will join the libertarian and constitutional conservative coalition over these issues and vote for Ron Paul.
It's a compromise, in other words. So even if pro-life Christians can't be enthusiastic about Paul's lack of advocacy for a federal ban on abortion, "pro-choice" abortion supporters can't credibly be existentially threatened by Paul's 10th amendment approach, which is less strident than sound-bite saber rattling over a federal ban. In other words, don't look for this issue to serve as a convincing single-issue rallying cry for Obama supporters, which qualifies it as a win for Paul.
Republican voters, long accustomed to "lesser of two evils"-type calculated rationalizations, won't bat an eye when pulling the lever for Ron Paul. After all, Paul's single heresy from current GOP orthodoxy is over his principled resistance to interventionism abroad. But he's the first to point out that it's the current GOP that's out of step with the traditional Republican Party platform, not him. Those voters whom Paul can't convert on morality can also be swayed by fiscal arguments. Wars cost trillions. The U.S. is broke. Rationalizations abound.
Either way, expect a giant anti-Obama Republican turnout in November, 2012 — regardless the GOP nominee. The advantage with a Paul nomination is that Republicans can expect Paul supporters to support the Republican nominee — something they can't do if they nominate Romney or Gingrich.
But there's yet more upside here for Paul: the Occupy movement makes a special point to protest crony capitalism and the abuses of a corrupt, insider financial oligarchy. If Paul can tap that sentiment, which clearly overlaps with his arguments against crony capitalism and the lack of transparency of the Federal Reserve System, he can convert a portion of those Occupy voters into voting Paulistinians. Rest assured, Paul volunteers are already performing this outreach on the ground.
So there you have it. If only Ron Paul can win the Republican nomination, global and domestic current events in November, 2012 will assure that a Ron Paul victory in the general election is a very high probability. Compared to the primary fight, some might even describe that general election matchup as a cakewalk for Paul.
One word of warning for pro-war Republicans: if you fail to nominate Ron Paul and instead nominate an establishment neoconservative like Romney or Gingrich, expect Paul to run on a third party ticket, and due to the reasons outlined above, expect him to win a higher percentage of the overall vote than Perot did in the 1992 general election (greater than 18.9%). That would undoubtedly reelect Obama.
Is that what you want?
Save your outrage and answer instead this question: given your less than courteous opinion of Paul, how can you possibly explain your sense of entitlement toward his supporters and their votes? Answer: you can't.
Besides, even if Ron Paul did not run third party, and even if he were to endorse the neoconservative Republican nominee, his supporters wouldn't necessarily follow his lead. I know I wouldn't.
Dave Trotter [send him mail] is a technical communications manager in Central Texas.