Rand Paul

Rand Paul: Libertarian/Republican? (Probably Not.)


While here at Reason earlier today he made a call for all voters to line up behind his own party, the Republican Party, U.S. News is reporting on some skylarking thoughts from some Libertarian Party higher-ups that Paul could become a fusion candidate, nominated by both parties.

Likely over Paul's own dead body (doubtless for most voters in a general election, that will be a label he'll want to distance himself from, not embrace), and despite the two named sources, National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict and Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark*, saying it just maybe might could happen, my own read of the L.P. rank and file from years of following it is that it would be shocking indeed if a bare majority of the types of activists who troubles themselves to end up as delegates to national L.P. conventions could allow their sense of self to survive linking their Party with the GOP, even for a candidate with as many decent qualities as Paul.

That said, the prize of the L.P's presidential candidacy, which gets you enormous political value in terms of being on the ballot in generally a vast majority of states, is at the whim of usually a very small number of people (winning the support of fewer than 300 people can on occasion earn it for you, depending on the turnout at their convention) and it's hard to generalize about what they might do. Still, I'd advise you to bet against this eventuality, strongly.

Some of the electoral realities a double-booked Paul would face:

[Richard] Winger, the ballot access expert, says if Paul wins both party nominations, his name would appear twice on ballots in Connecticut, New York and South Carolina. In states including California, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania both party names would appear under his name. Florida and Texas ballots would not show the Libertarian party name.

The possibility of Paul winning the Libertarian nomination, of course, doesn't merely depend on the enthusiasm of his supporters or if his positions are close enough to party dogma. It also depends on who else is interested in the nomination.

The party's 2012 nominee, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, is busy running a marijuana company he hopes to build into an industry leader, but may enter the race.

Johnson, a former Republican, says he'd like to seek the Libertarian nomination again—though he's not firmly committed to doing so—and says Libertarians should not nominate Paul.

I wrote back in 2002 about the possibilities of "fusion" candidates for strengthening third parties in America's political system.

*Correction: Sarwark was misidentified in the first version of this post.

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  1. If Paul were to get the nomination and were running against say Hillary, I can’t see why any self professed libertarian would not vote for him.

    1. Duh, because he’s not 110% pure and how can you broadcast moral superiority by supporting someone that isn’t 110% pure.

    2. I’d vote for the average roof-rat in preference to Shrillery.

    3. If it’s not Hillary, it’s going to be Elizabeth Warren, who is probably worse.

      That said, I’m sure the GOP will manage to screw it up. Maybe they could nominate Bob Dole again.

      1. They’ll need someone to stick a broom-stick up his ass to keep him upright, but TEAM RED bleevers will pull the R lever.

      2. Warren is NOT running. She’s not going to risk peaking too early in her career like Obama did.

        1. She’s fucking 65, how is that peaking too early when she could easily die in the next decade?

        2. Maybe.

          Everything that the Democrats do and say recently points to them needing to nominate a woman in 2016. They’ve hitched themselves to the identity politics train, and pretty obviously are relying on “woman” to be their next, uh.. engine. (of the train, see….)

          There will be no serious party resistance to a Hillary nomination, so I think the only way she doesn’t get it is if she actually doesn’t want it. Warren seems to be the most obvious backup. If she doesn’t go for it either, then they’ll have to find someone else. But they’re not going to go back to Joe Biden.

  2. The Libertarian Party may be a net negative for libertarians.

  3. I’m voting for Elizabeth Warren. We need a real liberal.

    But, if a left-leaning libertarian runs, I’m in there.

    1. WTF?

    2. Assuming this is not a joke, Warren is NOT running. She doesn’t want to go down the Obama path and have only 4 years of Senator power, before going to the White House and becoming hated by everyone and divorced from the levers of power after a measly 12 years in DC. She could easily squeeze out another 12-16 years of wielding power in the Senate.

    3. Nothing says ‘real liberal’ like blatantly corrupt cronyist who got rich off other people’s misery.

  4. What do the Millenials think? Is there a poll, or something?

    1. Does Reason do polls or report on them?

  5. Wouldn’t Paul be allowed to protest to state secretaries of state that he didn’t want his name entered as the Libertarian candidate?

    1. Dunno, but since the connection would already have been made, who cares?
      Somebody quoted Churchill to the effect that a lie is half-way round the globe before the truth gets its pants pulled up.
      See, oh, O-care as an example; facts take a poor second.

  6. Alternative scenario: Paul loses Team Red nomination but wins LP. Does he take it?

    1. No, of course not.

  7. You know who else talked about a purity test?

  8. The Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr. Ron Paul is certainly better than Bob Barr.

    1. BobFuckingBarr is the preferred spelling.

  9. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail

    ———————- http://www.jobs700.com

    1. 6474*52/4 = 84162. I suppose you can afford a BMW on that if you buy a shitty used one and you’re not supporting any dependents. But, spambot, I’m a little worried that you’re not budgeting responsibly. Have you met with a financial planner? Are you even putting money into an IRA?

  10. I seriously doubt Paul will get even the Republican nomination – let alone the Libertarian one.

  11. If he could also secure the Democratic nomination, he’d be a shoe-in for president! All that would be left to run against him would be Ralph Nader.

    1. One male YouTube user commented on the video that he was ashamed of his gender for these comments.
      “When you walk down the street are you being asked ‘hello?’ or ‘how you doing?’ or ‘DAMN!’, the answer is no. These guys may seem like they’re being friendly but they clearly at the end of the day want to have sex with her. That is not the right attitude to go about greeting someone. She was not trying to come on to these men in any way shape or form, so it’s clearly rude they are hitting on her and making her extremely uncomfortable,” he writes.

      1. These guys may seem like they’re being friendly but they clearly at the end of the day want to have sex with her.

        Now unnatural.

        1. HOW unnatural, geez.

      2. 100 instances in 10 hours in one of the most densely packed pedestrian areas in the world? Big fucking deal, lady.

        And almost half of them were from street vendors probably looking to make a sale and not get laid.

        And lastly, it’s New York. That melting pot of tolerance and liberal graciousness. Fortunately she was there instead of Atlanta or Dallas, where she would have likely just been met with a few guys holding doors open for her or a head nod and a “ma’am”.

    2. It’s boorish to chat up random women in the street – what would their wives think?

    3. Every at least semi-attractive woman knows that if you walk anywhere short of a luxury retirement community there is a chance that the sleazy guys are going to come out of the woodwork. It’s annoying, but idiots are going to be idiots. Are they not? I don’t think we have a cure for that yet. It’s not like any guy is watching that thinking “What?!? You mean women DON’T want to get with me after I yell at them from my car?!”

      1. oh and you’re probably not even safe at the retirement community if any of the residents were in politics

  12. I’ve been a delegate at an LP national convention. And I can tell you that Starchild has a better chance at getting the nomination than Rand Paul does. And if there are any board members pushing delegates to vote for him, there will be a vote of no confidence to remove that board member about five minutes after the nomination process concludes.

    LP faithful are purists. A bit too much so for my tastes, but purists nonetheless. And I get the sinking feeling that they would rather nominate a purist and lose than nominate someone in 90%!agreement with their platform and win.

    1. Maybe. They did that back in 2004 with Badnarik, who was honestly an incompetent candidate that no one expected would get the nomination. But they’ve picked relative “superstars” and former GOP members the last two times around, so who can say.

      1. What’s the standard for a “competent” LP candidate?

  13. How pissed would Gary Johnson be if Rand Paul stole his limelight in 2016 after Ron Paul stole it in 2012? Poor guy can’t catch a break.

    1. Johnson had a chance to really get the LP into the mainstream conversation in 2012 and he mailed the campaign in.

  14. There’s a serious issue with such a dual nomination anyway. The state affiliate parties are prohibited by the Libertarian Party bylaws from endorsing someone who is a member of another party for any office. Since the affiliate parties are the ones who have to put in the nomination of a candidate with a state, that means the bylaws effectively prohibit the nominee of another party getting the Libertarian nomination. Granted, the bylaws can be amended by a 2/3 vote of the convention.

  15. The problem for this theory of Rand being the LP candidate, is the LP’s own rules.

    Rand would have to WANT the nomination for LP to nominate him.

    From the LP’s bylaws

    “No candidate may be nominated for President or Vice-President who has not expressed a willingness to accept the nomination of the Party,”

    Now if he decides to “jump ship” off the GOP, believing he wouldn’t be able to get their nomination, it’s a different dynamic.

    However there is an implied “incumbency” of Gary Johnson, who clearly has invested in the LP over the past few years, and was actively encouraged by many LP members to jump to our party prior to his doing so back in 2011.

    Rand? He doesn’t have the following his father did amongst libertarians, much less LIbertarians.

    Given the election calendar, Rand would be highly unlikely to abandon the GOP. Unless its so clear that he will not get any traction in 2016 that he is willing to leave the GOP while the calendar still reads 2015 he will never do it.

  16. It’s Sarwark, Doherty, not Sarwick.

    And I assure you that all of the skylarking was on the part of the reporter, I just answered the questions.

    1. Many apologies for getting the name wrong; that has been corrected.

      1. Thanks for the correction.

        I told the reporter that the timing is all wrong for an attempt at a cross-nomination and how Paul would have to indicate a willingness to accept the nomination in order to be nominated, both things that make the whole idea very, very unlikely.

        I think he had the story he wanted to write, and he wrote it.

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