Rand Paul

5 Things To Know About Rand Paul's Campaign for President


credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul officially announced that he's running for president today.

His first stop is a big speech at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville today, where he's expected to talk up his campaign themes and give us more of a sense of what to expect from his run.

In the meantime, here are five things to know about the Kentucky Senator's run for president: 

1. Rand Paul's campaign strategy is built around an appeal to people who don't traditionally vote Republican. Paul's pre-announcement video, which declared that "on April 7, a different kind of Republican will take on Washington," hints at this, and reports on his campaign message and tactics make it even more explicit. "He intends to focus heavily on young voters and minority outreach," The Hill reports, "and will make the pitch to Republican primary voters that his efforts to expand the party make him the candidate with the best chance to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election."

It's an expansion of the message that Paul has been delivering to the GOP for a while now, in various forms—that for Republicans to succeed in the future, they must "evolve, adapt, or die" in order to continue to be relevant and successful as a political party.

Notably, this is pitch to non-traditional GOP voters is also a pitch to traditional GOP voters. He's not just saying he's the candidate for outsiders; he's saying that he's also the candidate for current insiders who want to expand the party's reach. 

2. Rand Paul will spend the rest of the week holding events in important primary states. Following today's kickoff event in Louisville, Paul will move on to a townhall New Hampshire—the "Live Free or Die" state—which will give him an opportunity to tout his limited government vision. After that, ABC News reports, he'll appear in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, in front of a World War II aircraft, likely in order to talk about military spending and foreign policy. The next day, he'll head to Iowa, which, as the first primary state, looms large in the primary process, and then on Saturday he'll finish the tour with a stop in Nevada, a state that, as ABC notes, his father Ron Paul performed well in during a 2012 presidential run.

3. Republican hawks are already spending big bucks to keep Rand Paul from winning the nomination. A group of hawkish conservatives has already put together a million-dollar-plus ad buy attacking the Kentucky Senator in key primary states. Bloomberg View's Josh Rogin reports that "the group will begin airing ads on broadcast TV, cable and the Web in several early primary states accusing Paul of being weak on Iran and tying him to the Barack Obama administration's Iran policy, which polls show is deeply unpopular among Republican voters." The campaign, run through a non-profit dubbed The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, is being run by Rick Reed, a veteran GOP political consultant who, as Rogin notes, also designed the Swiftboat Veterans for the Truth campaign against John Kerry in 2004.

4. Rand Paul's campaign is taking donations in Bitcoin. According to The Washington Post, Paul is the first GOP presidential candidate to take any virtual currency this cycle. It's not just an effort to make it easier to donate either. It fits in with Paul's different-kind-of-Republican message. As the Post notes, "there's a longer-term strategic play, here, one that speaks to Paul's appeal among tech-focused libertarians in Silicon Valley and young people who are eager early adopters of new services." It's fitting, becaus in some sense, Paul is positioning himself as a new service—a disruptive startup—within the Republican party specifically, and, more broadly, in American politics.

5. Rand Paul has a campaign store that sells t-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. The political campaign store has been done before, of course, but maybe never this well. The Rand Paul Store's collection of nifty, often clever branded merchandise reminds me a little bit of the online nerd-accessory shop ThinkGeek.

You can buy a Rand on a Stick (in a 12-pack)…

Rand Paul Store

…or a shirt that says "Don't Drone Me, Bro!"

Rand Paul Store

…or an "NSA Spy Cam Blocker" for your laptop…

Rand Paul Store

…a thick blanket with a picture of Rand Paul woven in…

Rand Paul Store

…or, for the most deep-pocketed backers, a copy of the United States Constitution autographed by Rand Paul. 

NEXT: Will Rand Paul Be "First Top-Tier Presidential Candidate...to Make "Marijuana Reform a Major Campaign Issue"?

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.

  1. #6 He’s not going to win!

    1. What kinda odds ya give me?

        1. 50 to 1 in 2016.

          I expect the shit to hit the fan whoever occupies the White House next term……I’ll give you even money on Rand for 2020!

          1. Okay Mortimer, the standard amount. One American dollar, at 50-1. To be clear…Rand loses, I owe you $1, Rand is elected president in 2016, you owe me $50.


            1. Take those odds. Paddy Power (an actual UK betting site) has him at 16 to 1.

              1. I’ll bet Hillary is at least still 10:1 at this point.

                1. A LOT of the UK sites have Hillary as the odds on fave. I’m hoping that’s more a reflection on the politics of the UK than a sober assessment of the odds.

                  1. It is probably more a function of the fact that as of this point in time there are no declared rivals for the Democratic Nomination who are really viable canditates.

                    Since she seems to have the Democratic nomination sewn up that would give her significantly better odds than any of the Republican candidates all of whom have to slog through a strongly contested primary fight. One which could easily leave the survivor badly damaged running against a candidate who has been saving all her resources for the general election.

                    Once the Republican primary is sewn up and we have a specific name to put up against her there is a very good probablity her odds of winning will fall significantly.

                    1. Why? Because the TEAM RED a-hole is going to offer moar defense spending? Because TEAM-RED will only grow the government half as fast? Under Bush Jr. and a Republican congress they double the debt. Obama did that two in less time and with more money. OK. So its a slower train to hell with Cruz? Big deal

            2. I’ll put my winnings with the check for $0.14 that I received in settlement from some class action lawsuit……. my participation in which I was completely unaware!


          2. Are you serious? I want 50 on Rand in 2016.

      1. He started off at the Galt House Hotel!!! How Rand can you get…maybe walk out with the earth on your shoulders and shrug it off.

        1. The campaign bumper sticker I want: “You Had Me at Rand”

    2. Even if he doesn’t win, a gaff free, well run campaign could set him up very nicely for 2020. Not that I want to be thinking of 2020 already, but he’s young, demographic trends are on his side (assuming he sticks to a relatively friendly platform towards young people and minorities), and a good primary campaign will help to put him even more in the spotlight and solidify him as a different type of R going forward. It would also give him experience and time to refine his position/message.

      1. ^This. Also, if he’s successful enough in the primaries he can turn the campaign rhetoric toward a more classically liberal direction and open up the party. These would be major accomplishments.

  2. I just donated. He’s got a chance of winning, probably better than many suspect, but in any case, it’s time to make a real splash for limited government and civil liberties.

    1. I’ll probably be voting Cthulu. Again.

      1. I see, a greatest of all evils vote.

        1. Rip that bandaid off. Lesser evil is for nancies.

          1. I like the cut of your jib.

      2. At least you know you won’t be voting for the lesser of two evils.

  3. 1. Rand Paul’s campaign strategy is built around an appeal to people who don’t traditionally vote Republican

    So he’s running as a Democrat?


    1. Dude this appeal to inner city minorities is REAL.


  5. I’m getting tired of all these Rand Paul threads.

    Can we have a thread about gay wedding cakes, RFRAs, and Memories pizza?


    2. Or at least rape. I mean someone somewhere has to be lying about rape culture, surely they can write about that

    3. Enjoy them now, while they’re still relatively nice.

      Because they’re going to be a lot worse once the Buttplugging officially gets underway.

    4. Has anyone asked if Rand will cater gay weddings?

      1. … or attend Log Cabin Republican functions?

    5. I was just going to comment on how the flood of Rand posts beats the hell out of the flood of Indiana posts.

      1. At least the Indiana thing had been interesting to see debated. Rand announcing his campaign just feels like the beginning of the end.

      2. You say that, but just wait for the poll results about what millenials think of Rand’s stance on Indiana’s RFRA and pizza shops.

    6. Will Rand Paul bake me a gay wedding cake?

      1. No?but he will make you gay if you want.

  6. Hey, I heard something is going on with Rand Paul. Anyone else hear that?

    Was it something about baking gay wedding cakes? Did somebody poll the millenials?

  7. #7 Reason is going to write up this bitch like it’s a story about Millenial Polling on UVA gang-raping Muslim Uber users.

    1. #8 Michael Hihn is stroking out right now. And that makes me smile.

      1. He’s trying to log on now, but all the spittle is clogging his keyboard.

  8. This current business cycle is already overdue for a major correction. How bad will it get and how stupid will the govt’s reaction to it be? I’d say Rand should be out there harping on the inevitable *pop*, but predicting the last two didn’t earn the austrians any mainstream love. Just as Yellin is now thinking about maybe in the future to start considering a rate hike, Rand can get to people to start taking a brief, momemtary glipse at what it may look like in a society where the government’s sword of Damocles isn’t hanging over every citizen’s head.

  9. I’m floored that he’s willing to have the words objectivism and libertarianism on his website. That shouldn’t seem particularly ballsy, but in our neutered political age, it does.

    1. Mein gott, “freedom?” It burnsses us, it doesss.

    2. Which website is that exactly? Because randpaul2016.com seems to be about his 2016 Senate bid, not the presidential run.

  10. Your lunch time derp:

    Congressman Honda introduces ACRONYM Act to clean up bill names:


    ACRONYM is an acronym for Accountability and Congressional Responsibility On Naming Your Motions.

    Other silly ones include:

    The Pension And Social Security Measuring Equivalence Permanent Linking of Everyone’s Actual Savings Environment (PASS ME PLEASE) Act

    Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act

    There are over 100 acts with the acronym SAFE:


    1. There should be a requirement that every new Act from now on have the acronym FYTW.

    2. New agency:


      (Government Acronym Reduction Department)

      1. Come on, Frank, you could work the U in there.

        Government Unnecessary Acronym Reduction Department

        1. Screw the acronyms, let’s institute the DRUG.

        2. Treasury Acronym Reduction Department

          1. The reauthorization of this act will be funnier!

  11. My classmate’s step-aunt makes $61 /hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her pay check was $12801 just working on the internet for a few hours. try this out.
    ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. Why’d the bitch get fired?

      1. She wouldn’t bake a wedding pizza for a gay wedding.

        1. Her paycheck from last month was from her GoFundMe account

  12. Point #3, the GOP establishment attacking him, is in his favor, I think. The only bad publicity is no publicity, etc. They will come off as a bunch of rich old dotards scared of the new kid on the block with fresh ideas, they will expose him as a non-Republican to Democrats who would otherwise ignore all Republicans, and again, they will get his name out in the media who would otherwise ignore him.

    1. I think the flaw in that plan is too many just flatly ignore Republicans, period. Many Democrats love Republican infighting because they believe it gives them the edge. They don’t actually care that a Rethuglican might actually agree with them.

      1. Yes, exactly — he won’t look like a Republican if all the establishment Republicans start bashing him for wanting to not throw people in jail for smoking pot.

        At least to more fence sitters than now.

        1. My point is that most people stop looking as soon as they see -R.

      2. Exactly?. they see Republicans as only motivated by hate or bribed by Koch dollars. If they were loving people who were swayed by a few corporate dollars, they’d vote Democratic.

    2. Same with being attacked by the chicken hawks.

      “Yes, my opponents are correct. I do want to stop sending our kids overseas to die in pointless wars.”

      I can’t believe that that many people still have raging war boners. Some do, but I think most people have come to the conclusion that there is no fixing the middle east. Why bother?

      1. I can’t believe that that many people still have raging war boners.

        WIthout anything to back it, I gotta believe that’s the case. Republicans are indeed the stupid party, but I can’t believe that large portions of them aren’t war weary after 14 years of this shit and that they can’t see the ROI is about zip.

        I think if approached correctly, it’s a winner, so long as he doesn’t fall into the Iran trap.

        1. “Our young soldiers are the best of our country. We need to more careful when sending them in harm’s way”

    3. I’m planning to send him a hundred bucks every time Lindsey Graham snivels about him.


  13. Pretty sure New Hampshire has the first in the nation primary, not Iowa.

    1. I bet you’re also a big Buzz Aldrin fan

      1. Pretty sure Buzz Aldrin really was the second man on the moon.

          1. Caucus shmockus.

            OT: The only reason to read an Independents thread back in the day, was for the Fashion Reviews. Just so you know,

            1. Caucusblocked!

        1. Nah, Buzz and Neil tied.

          They both got there in the same vehicle at the same time, right?

          1. Which one called shotgun ?

              1. Double barrel I see, a Joe Biden special.

          2. I believe it was Brian Williams. He did get out of the space capsule first to film Armstrong as he descended the ladder onto the lunar surface. But he didn’t want to call attention to it.

  14. “?a thick blanket with a picture of Rand Paul woven in?”


    wow, that would really add a new dimensions to one-night-stands. “What’s with the blanket?” “Never mind him, it was just something i had to have.” “It feels like he’s watching me”….. “is that a good or bad thing? Should I get my other ones?”

  15. What is this, a fucking cult? Jesus! When do the school children start singing him praises? Mmmmmm…mmmmmmm…


      Fan the flames with your Rand-on-a-Stick!!


        Hang, draw and quarter.


        Hang, draw and quarter.

        1. So eighths then?

          1. Sixteenths perhaps

    2. It’s Rand Paul or bust now, baby. Start keeping track of how much shit gets polished because “he’s the best we have right now”.

  16. Shouldn’t that be “Constitution Autographed by Rand Paul”?

    1. When he talks about laws, the Constitution rewrites itself. Rand Paul is the most interesting man in politics.

  17. I think i want that t-shirt.

    1. Me, too.

      Nice to use the “don’t tread on me” yellow.

      1. I think it would have been pretty Metal if the USA had never got off on this ‘bird’ tangent, and stuck with “Rattlesnake” as our National Animal Spirit

        “The rattlesnake symbol was first officially adopted by the Continental Congress in 1778 when it approved the design for the official Seal of the War Office (at that time and for many years thereafter, the War Office was a term associated with the Headquarters of the Army).

        At the top center of the Seal is a rattlesnake holding a banner which says: “This We’ll Defend”. According to the US Army’s Institute of Heraldry, “‘This We’ll Defend,’ on a scroll held by the rattlesnake is a symbol depicted on some American colonial flags and signifies the Army’s constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.’ This design of the War Office Seal was carried forward – with some minor modifications – into the subsequent designs for the War Department’s Seal, and the Department of the Army’s Seal, Emblem and Flag. As such, the rattlesnake symbol has been in continuous official use by the US Army for over 236 years.”

        Imagine …what would John Ashcroft sing about if our national symbol was a fucking snake instead of a bird? Instead of this… we’d have THIS


          1. Vae victis?

  18. I’m buying that drone t-shirt for my friend who hung an anti-drone banner at the Smithsonian. Somehow I don’t think she’d appreciate it.

    As sarcasmic says…principals, not principles.

  19. So reasons is shilling for a GOP candidate, even going so far as to raise money for him. Remind me again why I’m not a subscriber!! #ThanksForNothing

    1. apparently you think Hillary & Free Gay PizzaCake is a superior ‘libertarian” alternative?


    2. and re = this idiotic mush

      read Scott Shackleford on why “No One Has a Right to an Anti-Gay Wedding Cake Either

  20. I’m honestly surprised that you-know-who hasn’t shown up. Any of them.

    It’s quiet…too quiet….

    1. Who were we expecting? Gremlins? Fringe democrats? Fringe republicans? Old people?

      1. xnay on the ihnhsay

  21. “The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America”

    I think I just threw up on the inside. I need a doctor.

  22. I tried to buy his shirts but I am much too fat.

  23. As a Libertarian..I have to say, I grow physically ill when I get an emailed newsletter from Reason with the first 5 links being articles about Rand Paul.

    I am tired beyond description of Reason shoving the man in my face. He is NOT a libertarian, he was never Libertarian, ish or other-wise, and he is not likely to ever become a Libertarian.

    Can we please focus on actual Libertarian candidates. policies and movement? Can me move past Paul?

    1. Also this. I’d like to shove that autographed Constitution up his ass. Talk about over-stepping yourself.

  24. #6 He endorsed Mitch McConnell in his primary in order to get Mitch McConnell to pull the political strings in the state that will allow Rand to run for President and Senator at the same time!

    Yep, sounds like exactly the kind of principled candidate we want. But hey, ignore all of that, he has a royal name in Libertarian circles.

  25. Read today the Democratic National Committee says voters shouldn’t stand with Rand Paul for President because he “panders to minorities”.

    1. Is this tactic simply a sabot hiding their real plan of stopping minorities from standing with Rand Paul by having their heads explode from the unapologetic irony?

  26. #6

    Reason isn’t going to publish anything else interesting until 6 months after he bows out of the race.

  27. What i find amusing about the “Libertarians” insisting that Rand Paul is completely unacceptable….

    …is they don’t actually ever seem to suggest a ‘better alternative’.

    1. The better alternative is the Libertarian Party candidate. Typically that candidate does not have the money to flood the airwaves to spoon-feed the message to all the couch-potatoes. What are we supposed to do, rob a bank?

    2. Isn’t “the lesser of X evils” a TEAM-RED and TEAM-BLUE game?

  28. Hillary Clinton once told Ron Paul: You have the most enthusiastic supporters of anybody I ever saw. Supporters, yes; followers, no. We are on average way more sophisticated than the clods who automatically voted for Bobby Kennedy just because he was a Kennedy and they liked John F. Kennedy.

    Rand Paul is no better than Ronald Reagan.

    1. But Ted Kennedy! Maybe Rand is the next Liberal Liar!

    2. Rand Paul is no better than Ronald Reagan.

      I’d settle for that.

      My primary objection to Paul is his position on immigration. I’m a nationalist libertarian — libertarianism within a nation. You can’t realistically maintain a libertarian state when a) you have a welfare state and b) you are being overrun with an invasion of poorly educated socialists.

    3. Having lived through it, I have to ask: What was so bad about Reagan?

      Sure, I can list many things I didn’t care for. In fact, at the time, I was more influenced by the culture and out and out hated him. Or, thought I did.

      But, in a more adult sense, the list I can make of “what he did wrong” is pretty short compared to just about any of the other ten or twelve presidents that have held office in my lifetime.

      I’m actually more put off by the discussion of the upcoming election here than any of the particular candidates. Libertarians should be outside of the “President is the all powerful, benevolent and controlling overseer of all of America and thus the most important person on the planet” that most Americans fall prey too. But, here we are supporting and picking apart one candidate over the over for a single position, representing one third of our national government with relatively limited, enumerated powers.

      Hell, the mayor of my city has a more direct bearing on my everyday life than any POTUS.

  29. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

  30. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!….

  31. He’s nothing like his dad, he’ll disappoint and this is just a Republican ploy to try to co opt us libertarians. You may think I am cynical but that is the truth of the matter.

  32. I am getting kind of tired of the Republican establishment spending big bucks to attack Republicans. In 2012, they did the that to protect Romney and then there was no money to combat Obama’s lies during the summer.

  33. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.