Foreign Policy

Economics, Not Foreign Policy, Draw Young People to Ron Paul Rally


Despite ever decreasing odds of winning the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul continues to campaign with vigor. He spent Wednesday evening delivering his standard stump speech to a crowd of over 2,000 people inside the Keaney Gymnasium at the University of Rhode Island. The mostly young crowd cheered often, particularly when Paul decried runaway entitlement spending, American foreign policy, and, of course, the Federal Reserve.

Paul's popularity with young voters was overwhelming in early primary states, particularly Iowa and New Hampshire, but since then other candidates like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum caught up to him. It is difficult to determine why Paul's support remained mostly unchanged while others gained. Paul's youth support began in 2008, but was ultimately overshadowed by then candidate Barack Obama's strong youth support. Obama's campaign team is investing heavily in young people again in his bid for reelection. 

Many of the young people I spoke to at URI told me that they were attracted to Paul's libertarian ideas, particularly on economics, but also stayed with him because of his consistency as a politician.

"People are tired of being slaves to the government, they are tired of being shoved off to war, they are tired of paying taxes, they are tired of the system," said Tabor Barranti, 22, a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

Barranti, wearing a half-dozen buttons with various libertarian messages, noted Paul may not be the greatest speaker but said his "substance" and depth of knowledge make up for it.

"(Obama) is charismatic but he has no substance. Ron Paul has more substance than all of the candidates combined," she said.

The main organizer of the event and head of Youth for Ron Paul at URI, Emmanuel Cumplido, said that Paul resonates with young people because "he's right."

"If you're a deep thinker, you're going to honestly look at the candidates and conclude that Paul's political philosophy is miles above the rest," said Cumplido, 22, a philosophy major.

Other members of URI's Youth for Ron Paul group said they supported Paul for economic reasons.

"The current generation, they're not going to have to pay that debt to China. Eventually someone's going to have to pay those bills and that's not the current generation, that's my generation and my children's generation, and that's a real problem," said Nate Robertson, 23, a political science major at URI.

Natasha Nemeth, a chemistry major, said she was drawn to Paul for similar reasons but cited his "spotless record of consistency" as being the biggest reason she backs him.

One of the main schools of thought on Paul's strong youth support is that it is bred out of his foreign policy views. This may have been true in 2008 when the wars were still fresh in everybody's mind but I am not so sure that is the case now, particularly with the nominal end of U.S. military operations in Iraq. The people I spoke to today at URI all seemed to echo their concerns about the economy and long term solvency of the United States. Few mentioned their thoughts on American foreign policy despite Paul's frequent mentions of it during his rally.

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  1. Would you mind sending some of these youth north of the border? All we seem to have around here are statist hipsters.

  2. Your comment contains a word that is too long.


    1. “derp” is a four-letter word.


    2. You have made too many comments. Please try again later.

      You know. I’m hesitant to criticize programmers but, seriously, don’t count a post as completed until it actually, you know, completes and is posted.

    3. More like the end of hit & run.

      They keep this shit up and I’ll find another way to waste my never ending supply of down time at work.

      1. Im still trying to figure out how you all are hitting that so often.

        I had to actively word hard yesterday to figure out how to get the “invalid” message.

      2. I started writing a scifi novel.

      3. It can be a pain, but they’re keeping the dribbling insanity out of here. Never forget what that infestation of crazy was like.

        1. fun!

          1. Some of it seems to have slipped in.

        2. I always remember to never forget.

    4. Your comment contains a word that is too long.

      Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script.

      Your comment is invalid.

      W.T.F. Reason

      1. Yesterday, I requested that “Your comment is invalid” be replaced with “Your comment grows tiresome.” Otherwise, I’m good with what they’ve been doing, though refinement, I’m sure, will be needed.

        1. The longest word in my comment was presidential. Some day they will come for you and you will regret that you said nothing.

          (The fact that “presidential” or “frustratingly” didn’t get me blocked here shows how frustratingly arbitrary this is.)

          1. I think they’re just embarrassed to tell you that they find your comment boring and proletarian.

            1. I think they’re just embarrassed to tell you that they find your comment boring and proletarian.

              My comments are not supposed to be?

              1. No. They should entertain, enlighten, and insult.

          2. I got that message as well in another thread. I broke the message into two separate parts and then they both submitted fine. I think the error messages aren’t descriptive of what is actually happening. Apparently this Mike Alissi fellow who is in charge of site comments/questions needs to start having is mailbox filled up before someone will learn the coding for the new comment system.

    5. we will all become like O3

      1. Fibertarian

        1. needz moar bush-isms. it tries moar harder.


  3. Fiscal/monetary policy is inextricably linked to foreign policy, and I think at this point most of the young people attracted to Paul are well aware of that.

    If there’s one take-away from Paul’s movement it’s that we need to look at the big picture.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I like about his campaign. It has consistently stressed the overall unifying principle, as opposed to some pet issue or another.

      Maybe we can finally kill the meme that Paul supporters are just potheads coming from the commentariat on the other Teams

    2. Thanks for making this point. You can’t tackle the welfare without also tackling the warfare state.

  4. “(Obama) is charismatic but he has no substance.”

    It’s heartening to see that some people still prefer the latter to the former.

    1. binLaden lacks substance

      1. Non sequitur’d!!!!!!!

    2. We are the 0.1 percent!

  5. The young Paulbots that participated in the county convention a short while back were clearly well-informed and very opinionated on all topics including the economy, personal freedoms, and the many wars we are currently engaged in. There was a very heated debate during the platform negotiations between the Vietnam Vets and the Iraq Vets on ammendments regarding foreign policy and continuing support of the Irag/Afghan wars.

    Some grey-haired vietnam war vet took it upon himself to lecture a young iraq war vet on what it means to be patriotic. His inputs were not well received.

    1. Your comment contains a word that is too long.


      1. I just got that error as well. I changed an apostrophe and it went right through. I believe the squirrels are now using that error message for a whole slew of things.

      2. How long is too long? Let’s try some Julie Andrews: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

        1. antidisastablishmentarianism

    2. I had the pleasure of talking to five college kids waving Ron Paul signs at a recent Tea Party tax day rally. All extremely well spoken; reminded me of my Youth for Goldwater days. Let’s be sure we graybeards support- monetarily and enthusiastically – groups such as YAL and SFL.

      1. I stopped after the convention to talk to the most outspoken Paul-supporter. He was clearly frustrated and upset (the war-related votes were just prior to adjournment). I told him he was doing a great job and to keep doing it. He seemed pretty shocked that some old dude was giving him encouragement. I also told him that I was sure his generation would take over the party eventually and that he shouldn’t get frustrated and quit.

        I’ve seen him at the last couple of central committee meetings and he seems completely committed to staying involved. Gives me more hope than I really want to admit.

  6. “If you’re a deep thinker, you’re going to honestly look at the candidates and conclude that Paul’s political philosophy is miles above the rest,” said Cumplido, 22, a philosophy major.

    Sigh. Even when they’re on my side, I still despise “deep thinking” philosophy majors.

    1. I just don’t understand the point of a philosophy degree (or literature degrees). I mean, shit, library’s that way. Go nuts. Don’t pay $30K a year for it. Isn’t that how we got philosophers back in the day?

      1. Only makes sense if you’re going all the way up to PhD, and only then if you plan to teach.

        1. I have a friend that was an Objectivist heading into college. By the time he got his PhD in Philosophy, he was a flaming liberal.

          1. His mind was weak. Nothing in philosophy should make you a leftist. It’s just the professors and students who have whacked out views of reality. Many succumb to professor and peer pressure, sadly.

            1. Many succumb to professor and peer pressure, sadly.

              That’s totally my theory on what happened.

              1. Probably the women. He first just went along for the sex, but then he became behaviorally conditioned to associate communism with sexual pleasure.

                1. behaviorally conditioned to associate communism with sexual pleasure

                  That’s just monstrous.

                  1. Makes sense if you think about it, LOL.

                  2. That’s how the liberal arts work and why many of their adherents have such distorted views of reality.

                    1. Cognitive diss-AH-nance!

    2. Personally, I found my undergrad degree in Philosophy to be excellent prep for law school.

      1. Well, the law is all about obscuring your intent, and philosophy is about obscuring everything 😉

        1. I guess your smiley face was too long.

      2. Bullshit begets bullshit, I suppose.

        1. In this, the Age of Bullshit, we will be dominated by those who work in bullshit. Politicians, philosophers, lawyers, and journalists. It’s like the Iron Age, but with more bullshit and less iron.

      3. I have a minor in philosophy and math. Now there’s a combo that impresses the fillies.

      4. I always thought “philosophy major” was just a fancy term for “pre-law”.

  7. With the billions of dollars we spend on nation building (foreign policy) you can’t separate foreign policy from the economy.

  8. I saw Dr. Paul at URI last night and it was honestly some of the best spent time I’ve had at URI yet since becoming a grad student. The campus was abuzz all day, and it was great to hear some of the undergrads take on the lefty professors and school them on what it means to be articulate and well-informed. Tons of grad students turned out, too.

    It didn’t surprise me at all most of the major media outlets in Rhode Island didn’t cover it. If the older folks who ruined this state could see what young kids think of their pension schemes and do-nothing jobs they’d finally know why they should be worried.

    1. ^^^Excellent message, but no relation.

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