Rand Paul- the most libertarian Republican in the race, has suspended his campaign for president. For those who knew the inside baseball scoop this was seen a long time ago, and by that I mean the moment he announced. A campaign based off a "millennial voter" strategy failed to bring in money and attention, a string of attacks on other candidates he once viewed as friends burned every bridge imaginable, and swiftly, the fear mongers known as Trump, Sanders, and Clinton were able to capitalize on everything from socialist lies, immigration blunders, and the threat known as ISIS. Over at The Libertarian Republic, my friend Josh Guckert explained what caused Paul's campaign to crash, burn, and then explode again:
This point was only exacerbated by the emergence of Donald Trump, who monopolized media coverage unlike any candidate in American history. In addition, it is worth noting that Trump, despite his lack of libertarian senses, appealed to many former Ron Paul supporters due to his grassroots and populist inclinations. Though it had been believed that Ron Paul had solidified a “libertarian moment,” the greater likelihood is that he caught people’s eyes due to anger and unorthodox language in addressing issues. The “mad as Hell” caucus, once strongly in Ron Paul’s favor, now saw an adequate fit in Trump...Two other candidates who drew from Rand Paul’s desired coalition are Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. With Rand Paul being a fairly different kind of Republican with his libertarian leanings, he needed to be able to persuade anyone who was not necessarily libertarian but had some liberty sympathies. When Ted Cruz entered the race, he staked out the middle-ground between Paul and the Republican base, in many ways cutting off the air that Paul needed to connect with new voters.
As for Sanders, he appealed to a populist movement much like Trump, but in a much different direction. Sanders receives praise for taking stands on issues that matter to youth like ending unnecessary wars and reforming the War on Drugs, all issues on which Paul has also taken stands. Particularly in open primaries, Sanders (seen as much more competitive in a two-person race) used this to lure younger people and activists to support him. If there were no Sanders, there is a high possibility that Paul could have swung some to vote Republican for the first time.
With all of these above subgroups being courted by others, Paul was left only with the most staunch ideological libertarians, minus those who are so principled that they do not even vote. Another issue besides a belief in abstinence when it comes to voting is that seems that, more than with any other group, libertarians are quick to disown given any apparent straying from principled lines. As Paul attempted to broaden his base, any semblance of a lack of adherence to pure libertarianism was seen as heresy.
One last note is that it seems to be almost near-consensus that Paul failed to outdo his father; but this idea may be misguided. The two men’s campaigns symbolized completely different images. In Rand’s case, he was running to win; therefore, he needed to gather votes and win elections. He had a much lower basement but a far higher ceiling. As seen with Scott Walker and others, some of the only candidates with genuine chances at the nomination end their campaigns rather than running meaningless races.
Regardless of whether or not Rand Paul was your candidate, what all liberty lovers can agree on is that the political conversation is less without him. I never liked presidential candidate Paul, but Senator Paul has always been a champion, and that doesn't mean he won't remain another power player for the Constitution in the US Senate. As my friend Jason Stapleton writes:
Rand has dropped out of the presidential race. We talked yesterday about how a fifth place finish in Iowa doesn’t bode well for his future, and unfortunately I was right. We still need to keep promoting the voice of liberty though, and we know Rand will continue his efforts in the senate.
rock, love, and live free...
Remso W. Martinez
Remso W. Martinez