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But other Paulites sound like they are in electoral politics for the long game. Marianne Stebbins ran the very successful Minnesota operation for Paul, which nabbed 80 percent of the state delegation. She told a crowd of nearly 10,000 at a Paul rally held in Tampa the day before the RNC that “we were successful because we came together five years ago, networked, organized, began sharing the message of liberty with neighbors and co-workers.…We were setting up ham radio clubs. We were buying and splitting sides of steer and bison. Drinking raw milk off our friends’ farms. We were helping each other with our businesses.…We trade with each other. We work to be physically and mentally fit so that we are self-sufficient. We self-employ. Maybe we homeschool, but we teach our children to be self-sufficient and to live free.”
For people like Stebbins, though still into electoral politics, the politics part seems almost an afterthought. It is this strand of the rEVOLution’s DNA that promises to impact American culture and lives above and beyond any single campaign for office.
Paul himself is cagey about his specific activities in 2013 and beyond. He reclaimed his title as honorary chairman of the Campaign for Liberty, and activists from Young Americans for Liberty are confident he’ll hit the campus speaking trail again. “The movement for liberty would be a failure if it was linked to one party,” Paul says. “A true revolution has to be pervasive and infiltrate everyone.”
So Ron Paul ran for president and won. Not the presidency, but over two million highly energetic people who—when given the chance—voted for peace, freedom, and sound money. The results of the general election seemed to indicate that a GOP without its Paul faction is at best a losing party. His faction is not going away, and with Romney’s drubbing and a country that doesn’t seem as if it is going to escape its fiscal tailspin any time soon, they bid fair to be even more influential in 2016. That isn’t the same as leading the free world, but it’s more than Paul bargained for when he first entered into politics.