Now that he is officially retired from Congress, Ron Paul has left behind a contest legacy. Through his Republican presidential runs in 2008 and 2012, he conjured a large and dedicated army of libertarian activists and politicos where one hadn’t existed before. Two thriving organizations, Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty, arose from those campaigns and survive his congressional career.
But can lasting change within our sclerotic political system arise from a movement as insurrectionist and outside the mainstream as Paul’s? And will he have any heirs to keep the movement alive? A vote total of 2.1 million is an impressive number, to be sure, writes Senior Editor Brian Doherty, especially for such a harsh critic of empire, drug wars, and fiat money. But it still represents a decidedly losing portion of what was, nationally in 2012, a losing party. Will Paul’s radical ideas stick around now that he’s gone from Capitol Hill?