Attention Paulites: There are other 2012 ‘liberty messengers’

Over the past half century, the presidential nominating process has slowly evolved to serve two purposes for candidates — to vet their potential electability…and sell stuff. The possibility of Donald Trump using the season finale of The Apprentice to make a big presidential announcement highlights this phenomenon.

But in this practice, Trump is in good company. John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage was probably the first modern-day example of a candidate and a product mutually benefiting from each other’s existence. There was also Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s Putting People First, which was published in September 1992, just before their election. John McCain entered the 2000 presidential field with the release of Faith of My Fathers in August 1999. President Obama famously sold The Audacity of Hope during his historic run. And Ron Paul is on the precipice of announcing his 2012 bid on the heels of publishing Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.

But there is something about Trump, JFK, Clinton/Gore, McCain and Obama simultaneously selling products and a potential presidency that does not necessarily reek of opportunism — namely, they are (or were) all arguably viable candidates. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is not.

In a recently published op-ed and accompanying report, I explored which Paul, Ron or Rand, had a better chance of winning the GOP nomination, with a focus on finding what I called disqualifiers — a piece or collection of information that could predict, with reasonable certainty, that one candidate was not viable. I (admittedly) became fond of Ron Paul while researching for an article I was writing on the origins of the Tea Party, so when I tackled this question I wanted the answer to be void of emotion-riddled, opinion-based arguments. To accomplish this I turned to an impartial mediator — the 2008 presidential primary data.

What I discovered was a pattern for Republican and Democrat nominees. Since the adoption of the modern presidential primary process in 1972, all nominees that previously participated unsuccessfully in the presidential primary cycle have won at least one state contest during their unsuccessful bids — with most winning many. McCain, Gore, Dole, Bush Sr., Reagan, and Nixon all had unsuccessful bids before winning the nomination — and they all had prevailed in at least one state contest over the course of those unsuccessful attempts. In contrast, Ron Paul did not win one state in his 2008 campaign — a clear indication that winning the 2012 nomination is far from likely.

And his prospects become much clearer when you look take a closer look at his 2008 bid. Paul not only failed to win a state, he failed to win even one county in his own Texas congressional district — ending up third in every contest. But it gets worse. After looking further at all of the states that held presidential primaries, I found, to my surprise, that Ron Paul did not win a single county throughout the entire United States. There are approximately 2,400 counties in the 38 states that held presidential primaries (as opposed to caucuses). Paul did not win one county — not one. The counties that he did win, 18 out of the over 600 not participating in primaries, were in states that held caucuses — a process that favors candidates with enthusiastic activists like the Paulites.

I’m sure this is a hard fact to swallow for Paul supporters, and most will likely think it is still possible for him to be victorious in November 2012. But these numbers irrefutably indicate the viability of a Ron Paul 2012 campaign — and that is, he has no chance of winning the Republican nomination.

  • bigmamas

    @sailingaway & angelatc: you both are passionate in your support and i applaud that. ron paul has many good points, but as courrielche points out, he did not win even ONE county in the US. if any paul were to have a chance in the next election it would be Rand over Ron. He at least has won a national election, though I think his inexperience would hurt. we already elected one guy w/no experience and look what that got us. my point is your passion is good, your principles & what you stand for are good, but please don’t waste your vote, your money, or your time on someone who does not stand a chance. this election is TOO important to our country!! if liberty is what you believe in then you have to know that if we have another 4 yrs. of obama, there will be NO liberty left here. that’s not hyberpole, it’s fact. he’s done more to limit our liberty in 2 yrs than Bush did in 8. would it not be better to take that time, money & energy and get behind someone who though you may not agree with 100%, you can find enough common ground to feel comfortable giving them your vote? sailingaway you say ron has 600,000 members as a base. sarah palin has over 2.4 million people on her FB alone to tap into for funds, time & energy and even she is struggling due to left wing media & right wing people scared to death that she will run. i’m not saying to support her either, just saying that 600,000 is not much at all when you consider obama will raise over $1 billion this cycle. Is your passion only for the candidate, the cause, or the country? our country is in the fight for it’s very life, our very existence as a free country. we cannot survive another 4 yrs of obama, we will be flat broke and just another product of china. check out the IMF report today: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imf-bombshell-age-of-america-about-to-end-2011-04-25?pagenumber=2 As a fellow American I would ask you to re-direct your energies to someone that can win AND protect our liberties at the same time.

    • angelatc

      Voting for Ron Paul in the primary is not the waste of a vote. That’s kind of the point of primaries.

      And if the election is really THAT important to ya’ll, then I suggest that it’s up to you guys to figure out a way to nominate a candidate that we’ll support in the general.

      • bigmamas

        you are right, a vote in the primary for Ron Paul is your perogative and not a wasted vote. however, when you say y’all need to nominate a candidate for the general y’all can support…who are this group you think should be nominating the right candidate? aren’t you part of this group? if you’re an american, then i would assume you are. aren’t we all in this together? i’m not a registered repub or dem. been independent my whole life and have always voted for the best person i thought for the country. sometimes this meant holding my nose, like for John McCain, but i have always voted, i consider that my duty as an American…too many have died for that right, it’s the least i can do. McCain was NOT my choice for president, but he was a helluva better choice than Obama. there are NO perfect candidates out there. if you want to vote your principles in the primary, go for it. but don’t then bemoan when the wrong person gets nominated and you don’t have a clear and good choice for president. if you want someone who believes like Ron Paul, than look for someone who’s electable and support them. Rand Paul stands a better chance. we have to work together to defeat Obama, or as i said before, there will be NO MORE liberties to be fighting for.

        • angelatc

          I’ve always voted too, but I did not vote for John McCain, and I won’t vote for Mitt Romney. I want a fiscal conservative, and a proponent of a sane foreign policy.

          I have almost nothing in common with the GOP these days. I’m not a social conservative, and I resent their attempt to hijack the party. Like an overwhelming majority of the general population, I’m at direct odds with the foreign policy initiatives the country has engaged in over the last 30 years.

          I resent the continuing loss of our civil liberties.

          In short, I see no significant differences between the two parties on the issues that matter to me. If the party is counting on me to vote for a big spending, big government Republican while sobbing “We have to beat Obama!!!” then I’m out. I won’t allow them to use my vote to advance an agenda that isn’t mine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mt-Champion/1513235734 Mt Champion

    I agree Patrick!! The Paulites may win all of the straw polls, but there is no tangible grass roots organization that they can claim. They can be apart of the Tea Party, but they can’t co-opt it. The only people I know talking about Paul, are my Libertarian friends, and that is it. His son however, was able to reach out to a broader base and get the votes to win.

    The other problem, is the Left Wing Media’s labeling of Paul as the founder of the Tea Party. The problem with this is that he was a founder of some Libertarian type of Tea Party, that had no recognition, but in a few sectors of the country. It wasn’t until Rick Santelli’s declaration on CNBC that Americans are fed up, and let’s have a Tea party, that the American version of the Tea Party began. It wasn’t any Libertarian Tea Party, that resonated with Americans. Rick’s rant was the catalyst, and the movement ran at a fast clip, building momentum.

    Ron Paul may have had an infrastructure in place, but I remember there were many people building networks, and Ron Paul was not in the discussion, or in awareness of anybody I was connected with building any part of the Tea Party. The thing people were talking about, was Rick Santelli’s rant, and how they felt the same. Henceforth, it was easy for Libertarians to join the Tea Party movement, but very difficult for Republicans/Conservatives to support pro-drug, Libertarians.

    • angelatc

      I don’t think you can speak for the Tea Party. I belong to the TEA Party here, and was surprised by how many Ron Paul items are presented by people I’ve never seen before. But this small part of the country is more conservative than most, so maybe that’s the difference.

  • robb32

    ps,…marijuana legalization is absolutely top priority irregardless of what the old school geeks say.

  • robb32

    I agree…PARTIALLY…however you haven’t mentioned the one republican I would vote for, and that’s a ticket of Rick Perry/..RON Paul..need Perry’s energy and youth as the top dog, with Ron’s fiscal know how to win it..

    • krjohnson

      Rick Perry / Ron Paul would be an interesting ticket. But it can’t happen constitutionally. The Prez and Vice Prez have to be from different states. That’s why Cheney had to change his voter registration back to Wyoming when he was nominated to be Bush’s VP.

      Rick Perry / Rand Paul or Rick Perry / Gary Johnson could happen.

      • angelatc

        Nothing in the Constitution bars presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the same state from running, being elected, or holding office together; it only bars the electors from their home state from voting for both of them.

        • krjohnson

          Well, ya, technically. But their home state being Texas, a huge state electorally for the Republicans, you could end up getting a Rick Perry / Joe Biden administration.

          • angelatc

            I’m pretty sure the Republican electors wouldn’t vote for Joe Biden. Lieberman, maybe…

  • courrielche

    Hello angelatc. I’ve seen For Liberty probably 10 times…no joke. It was great source material for an article I wrote on the Daily Caller entitled “The Tea Party and its Impending Dilemma”. I get it. But I think it more prudent to rethink supporting him this time around because there are others that can reach a broader audience.

    Thanks for your respectful tone though! And I agree, the conversation would be different if Ron Paul hadn’t ran in 2008. But do you want to wait 16 years (length between Goldwater and Reagan) before getting a candidate in office that is aligned with your beliefs?

    • angelatc

      I’d settle for baby steps.

      Last time around, I was originally in the Thompson camp, and in fact, there were a couple of candidates I would have supported in the general last time around. I expect this time will be no different. But if they want to earn my vote in the primary, they have to win my heart and so far, that belongs to Ron Paul. He’s fought this fight, essentially alone, for 25 years. I just don’t see myself wasting my last chance to pull the lever next to his name. He deserves my vote. Nobody else does.

      There are always what-ifs…If Jim DeMint ran, and was running neck and neck with Romney, I’d certainly have rethink my position. But if the race was between Romney and Huckabee, I doubt I’d see much point in not voting for Ron Paul.

      • angelatc

        PS: I just saw that Barbour isn’t running. I probably would have voted him in a general.

        I guess the point is that there are mainstream candidates that I would support, and I would also support Johnson. But I won’t pull the lever in the general for Romney or Huckabee, so if the GOP wants to keep my vote, they’d do well to find a candidate that we can agree on.

  • angelatc

    It is what it is. I am convinced that there would not be any other liberty candidates on the stage if Ron Paul had not run during the last election.

    Patrick, if you haven’t watched “For Liberty” I’d highly recommend it. The filmmakers even put it on YouTube, so you don’t need to pirate it. It isn’t a fanboy tribute movie – it’s the story of the Ron Paul supporters. If you want to get inside our heads, that’s the place to go.

    In the movie, Tom Woods, a NYT best selling author, points out that the country simply wouldn’t be having conversations about issues like monetary policy if Ron Paul had not started them. We view that as a win in itself.

    Your question is legitimate, but as long as Ron Paul is willing to stand on the national stage talking the talk, subjecting himself to being openly ridiculed, mocked and misrepresented by his bullying power-hungry colleagues and the dysfunctional media, we’ll pull the lever next to his name because anything else would be a waste of a vote.

    (Goldwater didn’t win either, but I don’t think Reagan could have won without his influence in the party. While we’d love to win the sprint, we’re in it for the marathon.)

  • courrielche

    sailingaway, I appreciate your passion, but you avoid the point of the article. Ron Paul didn’t win a single county primary out of the almost 2,600 county primaries in 2008. How can Ron Paul win the Republican nomination when he can’t even win one county?

  • sailingaway

    What an awful lot of effort a handful of you are putting into trying to coopt the organization and support Ron Paul built for Gary Johnson. I take it the Gary Johnson money bomb the other day didn’t do well?

    Ron has more than 600,000 members of his Campaign for Liberty, started AFTER the last campaign, between that and his just relaunched Liberty Pac raised more money than any other presidential potential candidate last quarter, and his son just breezed to victory in Kentucky as Senator.

    While the Pauls were working against ridicule and building this support, Gary wasn’t on the front lines. Now that a ready base of support exists to launch Ron (and make no mistake that that is what it has gathered with the intent to do), you want to shift it to someone with no such record? And you hint that someone who is pro-choice and whose biggest issue is marijuana legalization will be more electable in a GOP primary than someone whose biggest issue is the economy and Federal Reserve?

    Well, I laud your creativity, but don’t think much of your chances.