As much as the GOP elites would like to ignore his ongoing campaign, Congressman Ron Paul is not going anywhere. While flying largely under the radar, Paul is bringing his campaign — and thus, his message — all over the country, drawing young crowds (though they’re slowly getting grayer) who are sick of the Left-Right status quo. Although I firmly believe Paul should run third-party, the soft-spoken doctor seems to be more than happy to be ignored by the media as long as he gets his message across.
Just last week, in Madison, Wisconsin, 5,200 people showed up to hear Paul speak in 40 degree weather. All around the country, there has been a similar trend: everywhere he goes, stadiums are packed, campuses are filled, and hundreds have to wait outside. His 45 plus minute speech always hits on the same notes — opposition to the welfare-warfare state, the dangers of endless war and fiat money, and what to do about it — but are still filled with the nervous spontaneity of no notes or teleprompter. While other Republican candidates draw a couple dozen to around hundred supporters at their rallies, Paul’s packed gymnasiums are never reported on.
Despite this lack of attention, it doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s too busy trying to “save the Republican Party” instead of taking cheap shots at the current president. “The truth is, I’m trying to save the Republican Party from themselves because they want perpetual wars, they don’t care about presidents who assassinate American citizens, they don’t care about searching our houses without search warrants, and these are the kind of things people care about,” Paul said on CBS talk show Face the Nation.
I have very little confidence that Paul will transform the GOP, but what his campaign is doing is threatening very well entrenched, rent-seeking, and powerful interests while simultaneously exposing many — especially the young — to alternative options other than the left-right paradigm they may have never heard before. It’s no wonder one of President Obama’s biggest voting blocs — 18-29 year olds — are apathetic and disappointed with Obama.
And the more Paul travels across the country, speaking at college campuses, the more support from millennials will be withdrawn from Obama and liberal progressivism in general. Next week, Paul will make three California stops at Cal State Chico, UCLA, and UC Berkeley (which I will attend!).
Quietly, Paul is changing the philosophical and political landscape of the country that will shape the future for decades. Something tells me he’d rather leave that legacy than sit in the Oval Office anyway.