In his essay, “Paul Supporters: Beware the Third Party Trap”, Ron Holland asks a question that has been on the lips of every Republican pundit for the past several months.
What can the GOP offer Ron Paul supporters to get them to vote for Mitt Romney?
Nothing. The answer is nothing. There is nothing the GOP can do to get my support short of nominating Ron Paul as the Republican Presidential candidate. No concessions. No compromise. Ron Paul supporters comprise a wide swath of sociopolitical views. Some are current GOP members, some are former Democrats, some have always been independent, some never wanted to vote before. The majority of us are sick of being told “You have to vote for X, other wise Y will win”. We’ve seen over and over how X and Y are exactly the same. They and the parties they represent have been completely corrupted by those who want to move us towards totalitarianism. The GOP is as diseased and rotten as the Democratic party. The strange thing is that Ron Holland seems to agree on this point.
“I agree… the GOP is actually a greater threat to our remaining liberties, wealth and the continuance of perpetual war than even the socialist Democrats.”
What’s is Mr. Holland’s central pitch then? To paraphrase: A 3rd party presidential bid is hopeless, so let’s change the GOP from within instead. Let’s break this down.
Item 1: A 3rd party presidential bid is hopeless.
Mr. Holland predicates his theory on the fact that independent candidates have not been historically successful. For the most part he is correct, but there is enough data to suggest this is far from conclusive evidence.
The most glaring contradiction comes in the form of Ross Perot who won 19% of the vote in 1992. In June of ’92 Perot was leading the polls with 39%. These numbers did not mysteriously evaporate. Perot made critical errors that were due to his being a political neophyte rather than a sudden collective rejection of independent nominees in general. Ron Paul is no neophyte and his campaign is highly disciplined and organized.
In addition, simply looking at Libertarian vote percentages over the past 20 years fails to take into account the many factors that affect these numbers. Who was the nominee? What was his platform? How popular were the other nominees at the time? What was the populist sentiment towards the government at the time? How many people identified themselves as Democrat or Republican vs. Independent?
Luckily we can answer some of these. I don’t think it makes sense for us to go through every nominee for the past 20 years, but let’s take look at populist sentiment and historical numbers of independents. Keen observers will notice I’ve already included these graphs in an earlier post.
The first graph shows that people who consider themselves independent is now at an all-time high. At the same time Republican identifiers are at an all time low. This gets more interesting when we look at the next graph.
During the same time period that Republicans lost 6% of their base (33% to 27% between 2006-2011), the number of people who lean republican grew 5%. Democrats have been holding steady between 31 and 33% for over 20 years which means the historically high independent movement is disproportionately composed of republican leaning voters, i.e. conservatives.
Here are some more interesting data points.
These graphs prove that we are truly witnessing a moment that is like no other in history. Government disapproval is at a record high 89%! The last time it was anywhere near this was when Nixon resigned and still that was only 66%. Add in the fact that 70% of Americans don’t trust Congress and we begin to understand that these numbers are something we’ve never seen before. We must therefore reject any postulate that uses historical data as invalid at best and deceptive at worst.
Item 2: Let’s change the GOP from the inside.
Mr. Holland states, “I personally will not even consider voting for Romney unless he picks Ron or Rand Paul as his VP candidate and if it is Rand, Ron is offered a top cabinet position as Secretary of the Treasury etc. ” Later while commenting on ABillyRock’s inspiring video, Mr. Holland says, “This young women speaks for millions of us who will not vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 unless he unilaterally guarantees us he will advance our freedom agenda. He can do this by naming Rand Paul as his VP running mate and a promise of a Ron Paul cabinet appointment, followed by campaign pledges for real action on the Fed audit and a required declaration of war for future foreign military actions. ”
Any one who watches ABillyRock’s video can see she is not saying any such thing. In fact she is saying the complete opposite. Quoting her friend she says “I welcome losing if the winning team is not supporting the principles that this country was founded on. But, I will not go as a lamb to the slaughter and vote for someone who my heart, my gut, and reason tells me is wrong for this country.” I didn’t hear anything in there about “unless Rand Paul is VP”.
Mr. Holland fails to understand that the majority of Ron Paul supporters will not vote for Mitt Romney no matter what he does. Mitt is equally as bad as Obama. He’s nothing but a silver-tongued vapor chameleon trying to absorb enough populist sentiment to get him into the Whitehouse at which point he will do whatever his corporate backers tell him to do (see: Barack Obama). He will continue to expand government and perpetuate war just like the rest.
What insults me most about these conversations is the prevailing sentiment among Republicans that Ron Paul supporters can be bought, but they just haven’t found the right price yet. Sorry, we’re not for sale. We are not pawns to be moved for your political gain. We are not satisfied with table scraps and concessions. We will not go away because you give us a hollow trophy. We are here to fundamentally change the system.
Mr. Holland goes on to say, “In my opinion, a rush to the Libertarian Party or another third party if Ron Paul doesn’t win the presidential nomination is a big mistake that could dramatically weaken the power and cripple the future viability of his liberty movement.”
The idea that the Liberty Movement can be crippled is rooted in a gross misunderstanding. The Liberty Movement is not a political movement per se. It is a philosophical movement based on truth and reason. If Ron Paul does not get elected President, this movement is not going to dissolve. It will only get stronger The truth is a virus in the system. They want to ignore, trash, rationalize, distort or co-opt it, but they can’t. As long as we hold strong in our conviction we will win. We have already won. We have won simply by opening our minds, investigating the facts, being honest with ourselves, and spreading the truth. There is nothing anyone can do to stop this.