Election 2016

Rand Paul Wins, and That's Important No Matter Who Else Wins Tonight

Non-interventionism needs a voice in 2017 and beyond.

|

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Rand Paul has won his re-election bid in Kentucky and will be returning to the Senate next year. Paul made a failed bid for the Republican nomination for president, dropping out after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, and in May said he'd honor his pledge and endorse the Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Given Hillary Clinton's severe interventionist bent and Donald Trump's erratic grasp on foreign policy, Paul is set to be able to make a real difference on U.S. foreign policy in the next four years. But it depends on which Paul shows up. As I wrote last April, Paul's effort at the start of his presidential campaign to inch closer to the establishment Republican view on foreign policy would make it harder for him to distinguish himself and could doom his campaign. While Paul called arming Syrian rebels a mistake in 2014, he called for arming Kurdish rebels in Syria.

While Barack Obama was perceived by some as a more dovish candidate in 2008, his administration has helped cement much of George W. Bush and his administration's foreign policy outlook, sans the partisan bickering. In the last six years, Paul has been an important force in the Senate to try to hold President Obama accountable and shift U.S. foreign and war on terror policy in a less interventionist and bellicose direction.

Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise to end the Iraq war, then tried to keep U.S. troops in the country past the negotiated withdrawal date, before running for re-election in 2012 on the boast that he had ended the Iraq war. By 2014, in response to fears about the Islamic State (ISIS), he was pointing out that he had tried to keep troops in Iraq. Today, U.S. troops are back in Iraq, battling ISIS. Paul campaigned for re-election this year calling on the Congress to reassert its declaration of war powers, has tried to pass legislation to revoke the post-9/11 2001 authorization of the use of military force being used by the Obama administration to wage wars against entities whose members were often just children when 9/11 happened.

The Obama administration spent years waging a counterterrorist campaign in Yemen—one the president once touted as a model for the new war on terror—before that country descended into a civil war after rebels ousted the U.S.-backed government. Paul, with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.), introduced legislation to stop U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been heavily involved in the Yemen civil war.

Under President Obama, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other elements of the U.S. intelligence community have continued to spy on and collect massive amounts of information about countless Americans. Edward Snowden's 2013 disclosures made it clear the U.S. surveillance state expanded under Bush continued with Obama. Paul led a 10 and a half hour filibuster last year to prevent the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, and earlier this year he worked with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to try to stop a new computer surveillance expansion.

Hillary Clinton has largely promised more of the same. She was one of the primary champions of the U.S.-backed intervention in the Libyan civil war, which created the space for groups like ISIS to set up shot in the country. U.S. troops are there, too, assisting the fight against ISIS. She's advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria to gain leverage against Russia, which backs Syria President Bashar Assad, who the U.S., and Clinton, insists must relinquish power. Paul has rejected that idea. If he keeps on in his pursuit of a more non-interventionist U.S. foreign policy, he could be an important challenger to Clinton in a Republican Party set to be in chaos if Trump loses.

Trump, for his part, when he's offered anything resembling clarity, has struck some non-interventionist rhetorical notes, and Paul could be in a position to force a Trump administration to actually take substantive steps at reducing U.S. military involvement overseas. Paul and other Congressional critics of the foreign policy establishment could also, whether Trump or Clinton win, push to reassert their authority in the foreign policy and war making process. The two presidential candidates' historical unfavorability ratings could make it the best opportunity in decades for Congress to do so.

Advertisement

NEXT: Florida Becomes First Southern State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

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. Rand Mutha Fuckin Paul!

  2. MOTHERFUCKER SHOULD BE MY GODDAMN PRESIDENT!!! Apologies for the fucking profanity, you lovely curly-mopped svelte Kentucky leopard.

    1. Welcome Agile.

  3. Great but this site ran hit pieces on him nearly everyday when he was in the primary.

    1. Diggler, it isn’t the goddamn job of the press and ours included to jiggly-saw governing gleaming excited cockheads with their fucking scribe throat muscles- as the others in the rag fields have proven themselves hackly apt to blatantly engage in though we understand the jiggly-sawing was done en masse unto a gangly labia mounted on a black widow with an evil chuckle.

    2. They didn’t want him to take any votes away from the true libertarians Johnson and Weld.

      1. I see what you did there.

  4. I think he would have destroyed HRC. I had been imaging contrasting her activities to montages of him restoring sight to the blind.

    1. He may still have a chance, in 2020, or maybe before then with her penchant for lawlessness and corruption.

      1. I hope so. I would watch the debates then, just to see her get buried. Unfortunately, knowing the GOP voters, they’ll renominate Trump,

    2. Well, if she gets into the White House, he’s got four years to run against her.

      -jcr

  5. Trump is now up in OH and NC, and FL. And interestingly in VA with about 85% in. That one I doubt will hold.

  6. Does anyone else think it’s a little sad to look at the election map and see this huge swath of red with some blue outline and know that a large percentage of Americans have no representation at the executive level at all? I don’t see how this country stays in one piece.

    1. I was trying to explain that to my son to illustrate the importance of states rights. With such a divisive and divided electorate it is important that people are granted greater choice to live somewhere that comports with their own ideals. When one party or the other is granted plenary rights, as has happened with widely increased executive actions, the disenfranchisement drives the disparity so many people bemoan.

      And then there is the BS about a single world order that is being trumped by Obama lately.

  7. Trump is on the verge of melting a couple of animalized icons into bureaucratic pudding. Steaming with the fog of silent screams his geohaul of desperate clutchings is about to drip into the heated quantum furnace of hope. The rural masses foist against the goddamn hellish emptiness of cities.

  8. The concentrated humans in the noxious volcanic steel gardens have to be resisted, my brothers and sisters.

  9. ‘There’s got to be a morning after’.

    1. How are your little sniffing running dogs doing, A dan?

      1. fI their smart,their drinking heavily. For the next four years.

        1. What was the question? I’ve been sipping brandy after a couple beers.

          1. Sipping ?

            Tonight ?

            I doubt it. Guzzling is more like it.

            I know I am.

            The election is just an excuse though. I do it because I like it.

  10. All the songs of chert lanes will rise into the vapors of tomorrows as misty festivals spent on the wheels of sweating harvests under moons and suns of flashing falls and bills boiling from rusted mailboxes

  11. This is good news.

    Wait, am I dreaming?

    1. As a matter of fact you are. In reality Bernie Sanders cloned himself and the clone took Rand Paul’s seat.

      1. No one needs more than one type of Bernie Sanders.

  12. Nice that he’s back in. Other than that, I wonder if anyone else besides Ed noticed.

  13. America doesn’t DESERVE Rand Paul as president. Trump and Clinton, are you kidding me.

    I’m feeling so ambivalent right now. If Trump wins, I’ll be happy that Clinton lost. But Trump isn’t conservative, he’s not libertarian, he’s nothing.

    What sucks balls is that there won’t be any “libertarians stole votes from Clinton” whining from the left when Trump wins. Because it looks like Johnson wasn’t much of a factor in this election. That was something I was looking forward to in a Trump win.

    1. NBC alluded to that about Florida.

  14. Local voting shenanigans here in San Antonio are being talked about here on the evening news.

    Several polling places have reported mechanical problems with the voting machinery. Local deputies have been sent to the scene.

    One precinct reported an arm breaking off of a machine and a few others reporting similar mechanical problems that resulted in the sheriffs deputies being dispatched to check it out.

    So far Trump seems to be ahead nationally.

    If he wins I imagine a lot of local voting problems being reported.

    Truly a news flash just reported in the background that if Trump wins, will he respond to millennial’s concerns as the country’s biggest problem. Those problems concern the usual problems. Bathrooms, well paying jobs for critical women’s studies majors, and immigrants rights to vote in the next election since they didn’t win this one.

    Judging by Proggie tears here in San Antonio, Trump wins.

    One of the local talking heads just responded that Trump and his supporters need to leave the hate behind if they win for the betterment of the country.

    No mention of whether Clinton should leave the hate behind if she wins.

  15. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  16. Very good news! I hope to vote for him for president in 2020.

    1. The GOP will now own Trump, for better or for worse (looks like he has won handily). What this means for Rand, I don’t know, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of the party.

  17. I am really looking forward to casting a vote for Rand for president someday.

  18. Give ’em hell, Rand! 🙂

  19. Would’ve voted for Rand as a Libertarian and he probably would’ve done well. He certainly would’ve polled high enough to make the debates. Libertarian party should’ve tried to get him to run after he dropped out of Republican race.

  20. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  21. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  22. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.