Ron Paul: Amazing Night, and the Path to a Two-Man Race

Ron Paul came in second with 23 percent, roundly outperforming all polls leading up. This is not just living up to expectations. This is exceeding them. This is, as his campaign announced, very good reason for everyone not Paul and Romney to give this campaign up. Those two define a division in style and substance that will shape the Republican Party this year, and in the future. Paul's anti-interventionist, scrappy, radical libertarianism smashed Gingrich's 90s think tank conservatism, Santorum's outmoded social conservatism (which Paul nearly matched in Iowa as well) and Jon Huntsman's smarty-pants mealy-mouthed mainstream moderate Republicanism (even with its "I don't seem like a total jerk or fool" veneer).

Paul, being Paul, took this moment of great attention to give a tight and passionate version of his usual stump speech, as boredom and confusion flitted over the faces of many of the line of professional national media in the back. Paul talked of the unity of liberty, of intellectual revolution, of unstoppable momentum, and of course of the importance of monetary policy. Big political rah-rah cheer lines would segue in a second to Paul schooling us on the Fed, an amusing hush falling over the room: Professor Paul is getting down to business.

The vibe in the room where Paul gave his speech and many, many hundreds of his campaign volunteers celebrated for many hours after the candidate left the building was pure exhausted, proud joy, combined with resolution for the necessary next steps. These folk are both earnest and joyful, serious and witty, pleased and proud but by no means ready to rest on laurels. They all did their days or weeks of months of door-knocking, phone calling, poll watching, sign waving, and often very dedicated one on one discussion about how and why liberty was the right thing for America, to every New Hampshirite who would listen.

My night ended with a hundred of so of the die-hards crowding into the background shots for big TV standups. They were chanting: "Ron Paul Revolution! Give Us Back Our Constitution!" and "President Paul!" (Someone suggested tossing in a "Free Nelson Mandela" or "Fur is Murder.") Vermin Supreme, the boot-on-his-head joke Democratic candidate who was stopped a dozen or more times for photo ops by Paul volunteers, alas, was escorted out of the shot by a Paul campaign worker.

The campaign tries to be a little too button-down at times; in fact, they seem to actively not want the rather filled-with-glory story of how their supporters pull off political near-miracles like here and Iowa to be told thoroughly and on record, trying to hold nearly everyone to "don't talk to strangers journalists" expectations. (It's as if they think it will toss victory to their opponents to expose the secrets of lots of enthusiastic fans, a great message, voter identification, poll watching, and phone calls phone calls phone calls. In fact, it can just lead journalists to focus on the sort of random fans who actually don't always paint Paul supporters in the most voter-friendly light.)

The giddy spirit of the Paulistas will march on; every single one of the youth volunteers I spoke to, whether the ones put up by the campaign in hotels or sleeping on Free Staters floors, said they were quite confident they'd be moving on to work for Ron Paul's victory in South Carolina, in Nevada, in Maine, in Massachusetts, in New York, in Florida.

As I moved through the Paul fans' resolute and well-earned good cheer and joys and in-jokes of weary gangs who have been through the wringer together, I started thinking: how will the significance of what's going on here with the Paul movement continue to be misread or ignored?

I heard on local NPR on the way out from the party what I imagine is going to be the standard "this doesn't matter" spin on this: that Paul's success in trouncing all but the anointed frontrunner will be no more meaningful than was Pat Buchanan's actual win here in 1996, which sputtered out with four more states won. Paul is just the new leader of that weird, intractable pitchfork-wielding rabble that the respectable and proper, in media and politics, rightly ignore. (Fox isn't bothering with sophisticated historical analogies; they just keep saying, mostly, against all evidence: Naaah.)

I do not know the future; it is possible that this will be the high point of the Paul 2012 campaign.

But Paul has things Buchanan does not have; a coherent set of beliefs about domestic, fiscal, monetary and foreign policy that fit the crises the country now faces in a way that I've found, and his supporters confirm over and over, is pretty easy to sell and understand if listened to with sympathy. Paul has a set of ideas with a clear and widespread ability to inspire energetic and effective activism. To be a libertarian triumphalist for a moment: Ron Paul has a set of ideas that make sense and are correct, and fit the historical moment, in a way that Buchanan's largely backward looking culture war resentment did not. 

Am I going to be enough of a fool to utter the heresy that "Ron Paul can win"? Well, unless you are the sort of conspiracy theorist who believes that votes are not at least within reason honestly counted, anyone on the ballot can win. All it takes it enough people voting for you. But whether or not he wins, he and his supporters have after tonight created the faultline on which American politics could well split. It seems quite possible that within 10 years the form of politics that Romney represents will have to seek third party succor.

By any rational assessment, all the forces called "Tea Party" or "true conservative" should be able to fall in line behind Paul. This doesn't mean it will happen. But it is a perfectly reasonable expectation about what can happen from here. I've talked to enough undecided GOP voters this past year to be aware that rational assessments are not always or even often what drive them. Tribalism and the forces of apparent inevitability have much power. I'm not forgetting that Mitt Romney did win this election, and win it by a huge margin.

Still. I have held my expectations in check for five years about the political possibilities of the whole "Ron Paul for President" thing, and he and his fans have exceeded them every step of the way. I vaguely saw the shape of what 2012 could mean for the ideas of liberty as represented by Paul, as written about in my forthcoming book Ron Paul's Revolution, but never mustered enough hubris to predict its success with confidence. That confidence is beginning to seem justified about now. (Success, here, does not necessarily mean being the Republican candidate. But it does mean creating the solidified movement of ideas and passion that can grow to dominate American politics. That is, Romney is Rockefeller; Paul is Goldwater.) Paul's encouraging early results this year are the most significant political results for the cause of liberty I could have imagined, arriving faster than I could have imagined. I expect it to only get more interesting from here.

Paul's speech at the results-watching party tonight:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • jt||

    i am starting to think about some systematic approach for every follow up election.. this type of grassroot act might be more difficult for someone who has a work schedule of at least 10 hours a day.

    but perhaps internet will simply take care of that for the future.. those that have time will volunteer every election around a cause. i know i will be in the east coast tonight if i didn't have work tomorrow. just means i am donating extra hard.

  • rsi||

    Brian,

    Why does it take four months to get book published?

  • rsi||

    This such good question I must ask again:

  • ||

    Because the publishing industry is hidebound?

  • MrDamage||

    Never ONCE seen a book bound in hide!

  • ||

    Brian's book will have a special Libertarian vellum printing cured with the tears of children and a palladium monocle.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I've seen many books bound with leather, which is hide.

  • ||

    Like Hope and Crosby, it will be morocco-bound. (Does anyone younger than Ron Paul get this joke?)

  • cavalier973||

    The excellent and highly amusing "Road Pictures", of course.

  • cavalier973||

    The opening song of "Road to Morocco", by the way.

  • cynical||

    Does your apartment smell of rich mahogany?

  • PIRS||

    SOme museums have them. They used to be bound in vellum.

    http://www.antithetical.org/re.....bind2.html

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And don't get me started on the Necronomicon.

  • ||

    Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle.

  • ||

    Never ONCE seen a book bound in hide!

    I was pointing out some actual hidebound books to my boss just yesterday. We were in a law firm office, and they had the obligatory Decorative Wall o' Law Books. The old ones are bound in calfskin.

  • rsi||

    Brian,

    Why does it take four months to get book published?

  • Brian Doherty||

    RSI---I wish i knew.

  • Suki||

    It is faster if you do it yourself.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But then nobody (who mattered) would review it.

  • Sarcapitol Johnbrooks||

    Or buy it.

  • ||

    You linked to 2008 polls or it's at least listed that way. You might want to re-check that.

  • Joe M||

    Looks good to me. It has links to the 2008 polls and results at the top though.

  • Brian Doherty||

    As Joe says, they have subhed-looking links back to 2008, but those are 2012. Paul only got 8 percent in 2008.

  • Amelanchier||

    Libertarians are well on their way to taking over the Republican Party in New Hampshire. Whether that could happen anywhere else in the U.S. is doubtful. To put the election numbers into perspective: 55,451 Granite Staters plumped for Paul, as I write this. By contrast, 26,219 Iowans voted for Paul. The population of NH is 1.3 million; that of Iowa 3.1 million. To put the results another way, 4.3% of NH's population voted for Paul tonight, while a mere 0.8% of Iowans voted for him. Sure, the caucus rules discouraged some voters, but that's less of a factor with Paul's fans. Paul's support really is an order of magnitude higher in NH than almost all other places.

  • sad smartass||

    Yeah. Romney never had a chance.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Interesting that Paul got 23% of the results in both IO and NH. He doubled his 2008 IO number (10%) and tripled his 2008 NH number (7.8%). Considering he only got 3.7% in South Carolina in 2008, it doesn't seem much of a stretch to predict he'll swamp that old number too.

  • Spoonman.||

    The abbreviation for Iowa is IA.

  • anon||

    IO stands for input/output

  • anon||

    IO stands for input/output

  • anon||

    Holy shit double post batman.

  • anon||

    Holy shit double post batman.

  • Zeb||

    IO is the opening of a mystical incantation. I/O stands for input/output. And Io is a moon.

  • ||

    Honest candidate
    exposes depravity
    of all the others.

  • ||

    I noticed the BBC actually had a quote and a picture of Paul in their write-up of the primary. And they didn't go out of their way to mention Paul's age, for once. Apparently, they've decided they can no longer marginalize the clear second runner. I imagine it will take much longer for the MM in the US to follow suit.

  • ||

    They're start shitting on him as soon as the next primary rolls around.

  • anon||

    Nah, I think they finally realized nobody gives a fuck about the newsletters.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. It seems like they have been paying a lot more attention to him lately and treating him like a real candidate. The consensus is still that Romney is almost certain to win, but that is probably because Romney is almost certain to win (I think this may be the first time I have allowed myself to admit that, ug).

  • Amakudari||

    Tribalism and the forces of apparent inevitability have much power.

    Can anyone explain to me why someone would take the effort to go out and vote for someone whom they don't really like because he seems "inevitable"? I know people do it, but why?

  • another smartass||

    "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by pure stupidity and incompetence."

  • Zeb||

    People like to be on the winning team.

  • sad smartass||

    It seems quite possible that within 10 years the form of politics that Romney represents will have to seek third party succor.

    Hmmm. Do you really think so, Brian? I'm having a hard time imagining that. But I'd love it if you were right.

  • some other smartass||

    My prediction: foreign policy is what does RP in. The mainstream is not buying what he's selling on that front, and that's the way the cookie crumbles.

    There's a market for his economic philosophy, and I suspect it's just big enough to maybe put someone in the White House. But no POTUS candidate will get away with RP's foreign policy position.

    He looks weak to the mainstream and that's that. Libertarians can cry and writhe all day but it won't change the fact.

    A libertarian approach in all other respects, with a somewhat more conventional foreign policy, properly sold -- now that could land a candidate in the White House.

    Somehow libertarians need to come up with a foreign policy pitch that doesn't come across as weak and ineffectual. Or resolve themselves to what we're now getting.

    What the hell are we doing in Libya?

    The fact that almost no one in this country seems to care about this question, I submit as proof of the above.

    Not that a libertarian candidate should borrow from Bush-Obama on foreign policy. But for christ's sake get with it, RP's foreign policy pitch is never going to sell to the mainstream.

    Argue that we'll avoid stupid wars, but argue too that we'll fight when it's needed. That has a chance on the national stage.

  • Bakunin||

    I'm not sure this is true anymore. I think the public is actually exhausted by the non-stop interventionism; secondly, I think they realize we just can't afford such a policy anymore (unlike the press or Washington), and what they really want is an economic recovery and possibly a sound economic philosophy leading to that. I think the public is starting to wake up to the idea that military adventurism is not putting break on the table.

  • the same smartass||

    Well, you might be right about that. I'd like to believe it, though I'm afraid right now they'd still take more of the same.

    But I still contend that a middle ground is what's needed. A story line like "we're going to avoid stupid and unnecessary wars but b'gosh, if it comes down to it I'll fight when and if it's necessary".

    Try if you can to imagine RP going up against the Soviets, versus how Reagan handled the Soviets. RP just doesn't come across as the guy who could have handled the Soviets, who weren't just an imaginary enemy.

    That is what has to change. The mainstream wants a leader who can handle real enemies if and when they arise.

    This shift I'm suggesting doesn't require RP to become the kind of idiot that's going to invade irrelevant north african dumps when the next Euro-wind (or neo-con wind) blows.

  • ||

    i DO think RP would fight when needed, fwiw. and i also would note he served honorably in our military.

    as the "anti-war" candidate, he doesn't necessarily get this message across, but i am confident that he would be plenty ready to send our warriors where needed.

    but he wouldn't do it to be the world's cop.

  • the same smartass||

    I think you're right. But as you said, he doesn't get the message across.

    Sad.....

  • DavidT||

    The problem with people saying "If only Paul weren't so rigidly anti-interventionist in foreign policy" is that IMO it is this very anti-interventionism which is the greatest cause of his appeal to *non*-Republicans--especially young voters, many of whom supported Obama in 2008-- who were essential to his relatively strong showing in both IA and NH. (Independents are the reason Romney got 39 percent instead of 50 percent in NH.)

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    There are a lot of people who jerk-off to the idea that U.S. is "the best", has the "best toys" and could topple any tyrant on a whim. These are the people who watch those battle shows on the History channel with a hand stuffed down there pants. Plenty of these mongoloids have never served, but just the idea of a clusterbomb gives them morning wood. They don't care WHY the U.S. is fighting a war, only that it is fighting it. They don't care about the innocents killed "by accident" because "this is war!" excuses everything (What they fail to realize is that "this is WAR!" also excuses the inevitable asymmetrical blowback...fucking hypocrites). I posit that these people are the majority of the Republican Party.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Fuck...there = their. FUCK.

  • GroundTruth||

    "The mainstream wants a leader who can handle real enemies if and when they arise."

    I suspect that a President Paul would have cleared out Al Qeada and the Taliban just as quickly after 9/11 as Bush did. And then, I expect he would have handed Afghanistan to the UN and said, 'OK, we cleaned out the infection, but now you're going to have to cure the patient'. But there would have been no 10 year (+) quagmire, nor an Iraq-II.

    That works for me.

  • anon||

    I pitch it to my conservative friends this way:

    Bring troops home. Country fucks with you, nuke it into the stone age. Don't engage in this "democracy building" bullshit that just keeps us spending money for decades.

    It's super effective.

  • Country||

    Country fucks with you, nuke it into the stone age.

    That's why I have "al-Qaeda" do my dirty work.

  • anon||

    Meh, nuke host country anyways. Give them great incentive to kick the fuckers out.

  • anon||

    Alternatively, I hear this idea of "free trade" actually promotes peace and prosperity. I wonder if anyone's heard of it.

  • KDN||

    It's worth a shot, but that's debatable. Europe was becoming more economically intertwined on the eve of WWI but were still looking to march off to war ASAP. I'm not sure anyone nowadays has the attitude about war that the Victorian Euros did, though.

  • ||

    Wanna explore the excitement of life and find your lost passion? flingpartner. c o m is a wonderful place for seeking causal encounters, you have more choices for sexy beauties/guys in your area to dating with. Life is short,come on and enjoy.

  • rather||

    "These folk are both earnest and joyful, serious and witty, pleased and proud but by no means ready to rest on laurels."

    You need to be bitch-slapped for that hackneyed POS

  • Brian Doherty||

    Rather---I'm sorry many dozens of hours talking to Paul fans doesn't match your apparent hundreds; I await your more accurate description of them.

  • Jumbie||

    I suspect he's attacking your style, not your substance.

  • ||

    Good grief. Not to be all up on Doherty's jock here, but it was a passing line written in the middle of the night, probably on a laptop in some cramped corner or little hotel room, for a website's blog. Does it really merit literary scrutiny, much less attack?

  • T||

    You're new to the internet, aren't you, Tom?

  • ||

    I know there's no shortage of grammar nazis and punctuation pedants running around this here World Wide Web, but no, it's not often you see this high-school English-teacher "-1, cliche" sort of jab. Kinda random.

  • Zeb||

    Rather seems to fancy herself some sort of brilliant prose stylist.

  • ||

    40% to 25%, a two-man race? Skipped a few math classes did you?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Not to defend the idea, but it could be a two-man race if the lowlights left the stage. Between a Mormon and the "Anti-Christ," the bible-thumping war-mongering fuckheads might just stay home. Then again...South Carolina will probably prove why I hate people (in general) so much.

  • anon||

    I still can't figure out to save my life why Catholics still hate Mormons so fucking much.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Look at the Protestants and the Catholics. Catholics hate Mormons because they cut into their dwindling share of the pie. That, and when you transport the ancient magical insanity of the old/new testaments to the U.S. circa 1800's, the cracks start to show.

  • Tango Mike||

    Spot on, Drax. Spot on.

  • tarran||

    The Mormons compete with the Catholics in missionary work in the developing world. To be precise, the mormon missionaries are far more energetic and productive than the Catholic ones. The Catholics are AT&T, the Mormons are MCI.

  • Zeb||

    At least their theology differs in significant ways. What I don't get is Muslims and Jews. It's basically the same exact religion.

  • ||

    The rules may be similar, but the hatred has been around since the time of Muhammad. After fleeing Mecca for Medina and getting sufficient power, Muhammad banished two of the three Jewish tribes that ran it, and massacred the third, killing all the adult males and selling the women and children into slavery. The Quran is also chock full of Jew hatred, comparing them to apes and such. I doubt there will ever be lasting peace between the two religions.

  • Christina||

    The Mormons I know think the Evangelicals are more hateful than the Catholics.

  • ||

    2/3rds of Republicans support staying in Afghanistan. About 2/3rds of Americans want out.

    I agree with Paul's view that going to war with Iran to keep them from having nuclear weapons would be a mistake. I am not sure that most Americans are willing to accept this view, especially in an open way. I am almost certain that the 2/3rds who want to stay in Afganistants (most Republicans) would support those moves that will lead to war.

    Huntsman has been trying to promote a less interventionist foreign policy. While I have seen things where Huntsman appears to say he _will_ go to war to keep Iran from having nuclear weapons, which I don't like at all, I generally like his approach better.

    I am not sure that Paul really is following a Rothbardian "principled" nonintervention (he has said some things that don't quite fit that,) he certainly sometimes suggests he is.

  • anon||

    The entire idea of preventing nuclear proliferation is stupid anyways. How many Russian nukes are missing? How did Pakistan acquire nuclear technology?

    It's one big derp.

  • ||

    You are dangerous.

  • Maverick||

    That's right! Ice...Man, I am dangerous.

  • protefeed||

    The Fox News spin on how Romney has it wrapped up and Paul is doomed, despite Romney not even getting 40% of the vote in NH:

    The solid Paul performance effectively cut off the rest of the candidates from coming close to Romney, which certainly was not by design. With no logical next step for Paul, this will likely be the last election night where he places in the top tier. That is unless he is the last man standing facing Romney.

  • Spoonman.||

    Wow. "No logical next step"? What about...continued campaigning?

  • anon||

    No way. It's such a logical nightmare I hear he's considering suicide as a way out.

  • ||

    He got a decent interview on the Fox morning show today.

  • ||

    Nevada...you mendacious fucks

  • anon||

    With no logical next step for Paul, this will likely be the last election night where he places in the top tier. That is unless he is the last man standing facing Romney.

    Yet somehow Santorum et al -not- placing second makes them viable? Give me a fucking break.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    But teh gays are going to force gaydom upon the children just before they send nukes to Iran!

  • Zeb||

    Is there any question that Paul will be the last man standing against Romney?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, unless you are the sort of conspiracy theorist who believes that votes are not at least within reason honestly counted, anyone on the ballot can win.

    Having volunteered at the polls in the past, I can say this is conspiracy fact, not theory.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    ^this^

    I have volunteered as a poll watcher, both at the polls, and on the phones in the campaign office, for the past two presidential campaigns. I saw a few things that were questionable, but a couple stories I heard from others in the field were pretty outrageous.

    In one case, there was an old lady who wanted to vote but couldn't make it down to the polling place, but she lived a block or two away. So the poll workers took a voting machine out of the voting place, put it in a car, drove the two blocks, and took the voting machine into the house so the lady could vote. Totally illegal. This was one of the new electronic voting machines. Who knows what kind of tampering might have occurred while they were in there?

  • anon||

    I have trouble believing that some asshole loaded a voting machine up to "take it to the lady's house to vote," so yes, it was either hacked or didn't actually happen.

  • T||

    I don't have a problem believing it for a second. You have to be ready to pull a machine and take it outside to accommodate a disabled person who cannot even make it in the building. Throwing it in a car isn't that much of a stretch.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You have to be ready to pull a machine and take it outside to accommodate a disabled person who cannot even make it in the building.

    THIS. It is a valid accomodation to take a machine out to the curb for someone who is unable to get out of the car and walk into the polling place. But even for that, there is a specific procedure that must be followed, with poll watchers watching the whole thing.

    There is no procedure for taking it in a car down the street.

  • MNG||

    "a couple stories I heard from others"

    Captain Anecdote!!!!!!

    Even if we had any reason to believe this story, how awful is it to accomodate an elderly woman in voting? If she can't hobble down to the polls then who cares about her vote, eh?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I don't believe the story either, but you can't think of another way she could have been accommodated? Really?

  • MNG||

    In a sane world we would have something like "votermobiles" where people can vote that go from neighborhood to neighborhood, or ideally we would have canvassers with tablets go door to door to let voters vote. The canvassers would at least be as qualified as the people actually at the polls, and if we take it seriously that our form of government derives its legitimacy from consent of the governed we would make every effort to get everyone's consent.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Isn't it stupifyingly easy to get a absentee ballot in most places?
    (I've never voted absentee, so I'm really not sure -- but I hear things!)

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So, sorry, MNG. The answer we were looking for was "What is an absentee ballot?"
    You're down to $1800.

  • MNG||

    "So, sorry, MNG. The answer we were looking for was "What is an absentee ballot?"
    You're down to $1800."

    So wtf, you made your point above but then went "a-ha, hey, this would be a cute thing to say" and felt the need to additionally post this?

    Dude.

  • MNG||

    "I've never voted absentee, so I'm really not sure"

    So though you don't know you assume. Interesting.

  • MNG||

    I also don't know how easy or difficult it is to get an absentee ballot, having never done so.

    What I do know is that it is often harder for certain populations to navigate government bureaucracy than for others, something libertarians should be sympathetic with. Since the entire legitimacy of our form of government rests on the consent of the governe I'd like to see us make more of an effort to get and err on the side of trying to get, the fullest consent possible.

  • ||

    I'm sympathetic to that, MNG, but at some point "easy access" translates into "massive fraud."

    Put a serious security system around voting (complete with actual ID of some kind, fanatically purged voter rolls, hard time for vote fraud, etc.), and we can talk about easy access.

  • MNG||

    "at some point "easy access" translates into "massive fraud.""

    Just like conservatives tend to worry about the "guilty that go free" more than "conviction of the innocent" I'm harldy surprised that they are more worried about "massive voter fraud" than they are about discouraging voters.

    What's the difference between having a poll worker verify someone at the polls and having a poll worker with a tablet doing the same thing on someone's porch? If anything it makes it more likely that the person is who they say they are (you are after all at least at their house).

  • T||

    It's already difficult getting enough poll workers to run a precinct. Your system requires even more people.

    Additionally, I'm not entirely on board with the whole 'easy access' argument. If it's such a goddmaned imposition to show up at the polls that you can't be bothered, maybe your vote shouldn't count. Requiring a minimum of effort, by either requesting an absentee ballot or showing up, doesn't strike me as a bad thing.

    BTW, the process for a absentee ballot is real difficult. Fill out a form, send it back, they send you a ballot.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    You can't see how that could go awry? Let's say that I am a poll worker who wants to skew the results. I don't have to physically alter the voting machine. Maybe I am just really conscientious about hitting every door in the more liberal neighborhoods to increase the turnout of my preferred group of voters, but I do the opposite in conservative areas.

    Instead, we should simply maintain a polling place and make it available to everybody, subject to certain structural safeguards, like an ID requirement to prove that you are a valid voter in that district. If you are worried about disenfranchisement of voters, then work to make sure that all people have a cheap or free way to obtain valid IDs - don't just remove all safeguards from the system.

    Frankly, I don't mind people having to make at least some effort in order to vote. If you can't be bothered to register and show up to vote, what are the odds that you have made an effort to become informed about the candidates and the issues?

  • ||

    I also don't know how easy or difficult it is to get an absentee ballot, having never done so.

    Uh, aren't you like a political scientist? That would be like me claiming I have no idea how to do a finite element simulation of the porous medium equation because I haven't actually done it.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So you made your point above then went...

    Dude. (If you meant to do that, that's actually funny.)

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I was on the phone with the poll watcher while it was happening. She was describing it to me.

    I have zero doubt whatsoever that it happened. Did I see it with my own two eyes? No. But there are lots of things I did not see myself that I'm quite sure actually occurred.

  • ||

    Kinda makes you wonder who comes up with all that stuff.

    www.Plus-Privacy.tk

  • ||

    Ron Paul was in that primary last night?

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned him this morning.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    It seems to me a win in NH is more symbolic than substantive, given that NH has only 4 electoral votes. Then you get to VA and NC, which have 13 and 15 - and Florida, with 27.

    It is nice, though, in that it at least sheds some more light on Ron Paul as a "legitimate" candidate.

  • anon||

    NC doesn't matter, we don't vote until May, probably getting delayed until June.

  • anon||

    Independents can choose to vote in one of the 3 recognized party primaries though, which gives Paul a huge advantage in the state if he makes it here.

  • ||

    I personally think Paul will do fine in the South and has nothing to worry about. He is a Southern politician, after all, and has won multiple elections down here.

  • MNG||

    He's won in one part of "the South", and in one district. Most of the South will do what they always tend to do in GOP primaries, line up and reliably pull the lever for whoever the higher-ups tell them to.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Yeah...it's sad day when I agree with minge...but he's not offbase. These are the people who voted for Bush 2 twice. We. Are. FUCKED.

  • ||

    So, this district is somehow different than the rest of the South? I live here, believe me, it ain't.

    Thanks for the stereotyping, though. Always refreshing.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    If that's at me, Nack I do apologize. The southern migrants at my workplace grate me most of the time, and it's hard to get through the day without a chipped shoulder. Kudos on calling me out for stereotyping bullshit. FWIW, good luck in the South and I'm willing to be happily surprised by even an modest increase in Paul support.

    As a caveat, I would definitely live in the South if not for the humidity...so there is that. The people have always been nice to me, when politics and religion are left ambiguous, and there are a surprising number of heavy metal fans. Which is awesome.

  • ||

    Electoral votes? They don't have those in the primaries.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Ron Paul has a pretty decent shot of winning here in Idaho. I know that we have a pretty small population, but this is the first year that there will be a caucus and the caucus has been moved up to Super Tuesday. The Ron Paul people here are very passionate and well organized, and I believe that this is the state in which he got the highest percentage of the vote in 2008. He also won the recent straw poll by a pretty decent margin, which is pretty impressive because there are a lot of mormons in the southeastern part of the state.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The optimism -- it burnzzzzzz!

  • MNG||

    This is great news.

    I can't tell you how much anger I felt this week, anger that is now vindicate imo, as I heard news agency after news agency totally or practically ignore Paul in N.H. discussions, giving all kinds of time to discussing "Huntsman's surge" all the while. I'm not usually of a conspiratorial mind, but it was f*cking outrageous.

    Also, again, not usually of a conspiratorial mind, but why in the world is Perry still in the race other than to help the GOP establishment by splitting the anti-Romney vote? He's known he has no chance of winning this for a long time, Iowa confirmed that. Ditto for Huntsman. I hate Santorum but I can see him staying in the race, and I guess Gingrich is motivated by a desire to attack Romney, but Perry and Huntsman are practically Romney operatives at this point.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    ...not usually of a conspiratorial mind
    The Paultard is becoming strong in this one! One of us...one of us...

  • cynical||

    "I can't tell you how much anger I felt this week, anger that is now vindicate imo, as I heard news agency after news agency totally or practically ignore Paul in N.H. discussions, giving all kinds of time to discussing "Huntsman's surge" all the while. I'm not usually of a conspiratorial mind, but it was f*cking outrageous."

    One reason (aside from the obvious) that opposition to Citizen's United is so asinine: there are giant corporations that seem capable of influencing elections, and which believe they have the right to use that power as cynically as possible. And it ain't the Super PACs or the guys that make political ads, it's the guys that are always going to be exempted from speech laws.

    TBH, I don't see how you can hold a debate, and deny equal time to a leading candidate, and not be giving material aid to the other candidates.

  • john||

    huntsman was the last press puff, perry will be the sc press puff, after they huff and puff and some point like the big bad wolf, they will run out of air and ron paul will be left standing as the wise little pig

  • john||

    i meant at some point

  • ||

    This is the high point of Paul 12. He's going down hard in SC and FL. The nauseating part is Frothy Mixture will emerge as the Not Romney guy. But Romney will go 444 (IA NH SC FL) and sew up the nomination. FSM only knows who he'll tap for the VP.

    The important thing is the GOP now believes they put the genie back in the bottle and will go back to ignoring Paul and his minions.

  • ChrisO||

    I'm putting my imaginary gambling dollars on Bachmann being Romney's VP nominee, should he get the nod.

    She's legitimately conservative and gets the fundies worked up, she has the requisite girl parts to satisfy this nation's love of tokenism, her political position is no threat to Romney's stature, and her closet skeletons are relatively manageable.

  • ||

    The coverage this morning is still remarkably Paul-free. The stories I heard were "Romney wins (maybe underperforms a trifle), Santorum, Huntsman, maybe Gingrich still duking it out to challenge Romney."

  • MNG||

    "The coverage this morning is still remarkably Paul-free"

    It was up to this point, it's hardly surprising it continues, though it is infuriating.

  • Jumbie||

    CNN Headline right now: "Romney wins. Huntsman disappoints."

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    My headline always: "CNN, Fox, and MSNBC are still run by pompous shitbags."

  • asdf||

    Catchy

  • john||

    and...second place? what's that?

  • ||

    Was Paul on the ballot in New Hampshire?

  • Zeb||

    I think everyone was on the ballot in NH. There were at least twice as many names on the ballot that I had never heard of than those I was familiar with.

  • ||

    I make small joke.

  • Robert||

    You people must pay att'n to different media from me. Not surprising considering I don't watch TV. Anyway, coverage on WABC, WOR, and WNYC here in NYC has been very fair to Dr. Paul.

  • ||

    Definitely cause for optimism--not just for this election, but for the future of American politics. A libertarian message resonates with a big chunk of the population. This is a good thing.

    It's interesting how much Romney is treated as having this thing in the bag, when it's clear that many Republicans don't like him and that he's not destroying the competition despite the preanointing as frontrunner before the primaries even began. And, of course, the only thing these small states represent is momentum, which can shift very quickly.

    So, Brian, is Paul the Tebow of this election?

  • john||

    Yes, he is. We need Ron Paul to strike the Tebow stance, and then let it go viral!!

  • Brian Doherty||

    I imagined something like, "Paul proves his continued irrelevancy, smashed by Romney by 16 points. The real story is the amazing rise of Huntsman, at 17, and Santorum proving that the Iowa bounce works, getting more than twice what he was polling two weeks ago. And we can't forget Gingrich, still in there fighting. He's one to keep an eye on."

  • ||

    One thing about Huntsman and Santorum--it makes me wonder whether Johnson made a mistake pulling out.

  • H man||

    Is it just me or did that comment sound completely gay? NTTAWWT

  • ||

    Both.

  • jj||

    The others were invited to the debates. Johnson is in a different caste.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Santorum's dad should have pulled out.

  • ||

    The thing is, if Paul didn't have such a rigid non-interventionist position in foreign policy he would actually have a very good shot at getting the nomination.

    I'm not talking about flip-flopping to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Pakistan etc, but at least not being opposed to using some coercive measures to prevent Iran from getting nukes. He sounds batshit insane saying that it's none of our business whether they get nukes.

  • ||

    I think he has an argument from his perspective (it's insane to let Iran get nukes but not Pakistan?), and he's clearly not advocating isolationism, but I agree he could've downplayed this position just a little bit. Selling nonintervention as more of a first line defense before we roll out the bombers, asking our allies to carry more of the burden, evaluating the real strategic interests being served in all of our deployments overseas (and here, for that matter), and closing with a commitment to keep America save from harm when our diplomacy and other actions don't work. That sort of thing.

  • jj||

    It is none of America's business if Iran gets nukes. You Americans (the only nation to nuke whole cities of civilians) are incredible hypocrites.

  • ||

    Oh, let's not go too far. We're not totally insane to be concerned about rogue nations getting nukes, nor was our use of them in WWII any worse than the massive civilian bombing that was so in vogue then. Also, it's quite unlikely the U.S. would be a target, so our meddling is for our allies more than for us.

    I don't want nukes used at all--by us or anyone else--and I don't entirely object to applying international pressure to slow down their proliferation. Not that I think the U.S. should be bombing countries that don't comply except as a last, necessary resort.

  • Ugh||

    And all furrners generalize too much.

  • cavalier973||

    If we invaded Iran and installed cameras in every building and along every public street and had inspectors go through everyone's dresser drawers on an hourly basis, it would not end the threat of "Islamic terrorism". The source of the threat would simply move to another third world nation that cannot compete with our military.

  • ||

    Nice piece Brian. thanks

  • ||

    Has Ron Paul's message gaining popularity resulted in any increase in Reason's website traffic and magazine subscriptions? I'm curious. It wouldn't surprise me. Anyone know?

  • PapaOooMaoMaMao||

    Were there any shred of justice left in this world, Vermin Supreme would be the chosen candidate of the GOP establishment, and RP would be positioning himself as the "anti-Vermin".

  • PapaOooMaoMaMao||

    ...I should specify that I'm referring to justice of the "poetic" variety.

  • john||

    Wow, Santorum and company are wanting to nuke Iran! http://americanvisionnews.com/.....-nuke-iran

  • ||

    This is THE most important election of our lifetime! We have a chance to elect an honest man to the white who knows what this country needs to get back to greatness. Don't listen to all the B.S. that he can't win because he is the only gop candidate who can beat Obama. Democrats, Independents and people who never vote would come in droves to vote for a man like this.Informed people will vote for Ron Paul. We need to get more and more people informed so we can save this once great nation.

  • ||

    Hope you will write more stories on the Paul campaign. This is the first completely normal sounding story about the Paul campaign that I have come across. Fancy a journalist who bothers to describe the people involved and the mood of the room and what actually happened. Big media seems to be always pushing the lie of the day; meanwhile very interesting stories are getting no coverage. For example, I'd like to see some coverage on why and how msm has gone off the rails. Are they even aware of it?

  • ||

    Another question of interest, which came to mind after I followed your link to the polling data, was why the polls were so wrong about Paul. I mean, they are way, way off, more than the margin of error. If these were that far off, could other polls (SC and national) also be significantly undercounting Paul supporters?

  • ||

    A question for the next debate, a Yes or No answer from each candidate. As all candidates have sworn to uphold the constitution and most seem ready to go to war with Iran: Would you attack Iran without the constitutionally required Declaration of War from Congress?

  • ||

    interesting article but please a little editing- so many spelling/typing mistakes - ungrammatical - or perhaps just poorly punctuated sentences - it was hard to read.

  • ||

    Paul is much more the man that this country needs in time of uncertainty when politicians are easily bought out by the corporate world! Long live Dr. Ron Paul!

  • ||

    If you know what is good for you and your children there is only one who should represent us, Dr. Ron Paul has my vote and if need be my body and thy soul!

  • ||

    Okay, Reason Magazine, This is the moment you've been waiting for too. We need some primo Thomas Paine pamphletering to help spread the message. "Romney = Rockefeller; Paul = Goldwater" is right on. All the other mags and their talents are lined up against our Man so we need all the help we can get. Thanks for signing up for the fight on the side of the underdog. Here's one narrative that might come into play at some point - everybody loves a principled underdog, right? Didn't Mr. Smith win out after he went to Washington? This gets more interesting and exciting every day.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement