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November 12, 2012
The Ron Paul factor in the GOP's defeat
By Gregory Patin
No one in either party seems to want to mention that what the GOP did to Ron Paul and his supporters may have had huge impact on the election.
This article was originally published by the Madison Independent Examiner. A video documenting voter supression at the RNC is available to view there.
After being shunned by the RNC, Ron Paul held his own rally in Tampa on the eve of the GOP convention. Supporters cheer as they listen to speakers while waiting for the former Republican presidential candidate.
A full three days after the GOP took a shellacking in the general election, as many as 19 reasons have been put forth by both parties, pundits and the corporate media as they grope for explanations for President Obama's win. The woman's vote, the Hispanic vote, media bias, a poor campaign message, Tea Party extremism, Romney too moderate, hurricane Sandy, New Jersey governor Christie, even voter suppression -- the list goes on and on.
While all of these factors did come into play, the truth may be that the single most significant factor is what the Republican establishment did to one of its own candidates, Dr. Ron Paul, and his many ardent supporters. By disenfranchising Ron Paul supporters, Romney won the primary, but because of that he may have lost the election. For that, the GOP has no one to blame but itself and very few in either party or the media seem to want to mention the Ron Paul factor.
In the Republican primary, Ron Paul's delegates and supporters were systematically shut out of the process, yet Karl Rove has the nerve to say on Fox news that President Obama won by "suppressing the vote." Take a closer look at your own party, Karl.
Ron Paul brought the youngest delegation in the history of the Republican Party to the convention (RNC) in Tampa in August. They were not political hacks, millionaires, CEOs or attorneys -- they were ordinary young adults from all walks of life who thought they could make a difference. They were welcomed by GOP hacks by having their signs confiscated and torn up before their eyes.
The Maine delegation, apparently having too many Ron Paul supporters, was unseated and then walked off the floor at the RNC, chanting, "As goes Maine, so goes the nation." It is befitting that Maine's electoral votes went for President Obama.
Ron Paul delegates even sustained injuries as they were arrested in Louisiana after it became clear to GOP leaders that they were in the majority at the state convention. After Ron Paul supporters booed Romney's son Josh at the state convention in Arizona, the air conditioning and lights were turned off by GOP operatives in order to prevent Ron Paul delegates from being elected to a party position. Romney campaign officials were caught distributing fake delegate slates in Maine and Nevada. In Missouri, police were called to shut down the St. Charles caucus when a Ron Paul victory appeared imminent.
While young people are encouraged to follow their dreams and ambitions, to get involved and make a difference in many aspects of their lives, that is apparently not allowed in Republican Party politics. And the pundits wonder why President Obama secured a majority among voters under 30.
Here is another reason why the GOP lost badly. It is called simple math. The following statistics were put together by Hamdan Azhar, writing for policymic.com. It reveals that, "in no less than five states, Romney's margin of loss to President Obama in the general election was less than the number of votes received by Ron Paul in that state's primary." Although not all of the votes have been counted and recorded yet, the trend is obvious.
These four states alone account for 64 electoral votes and if you were to take 64 away from Obama and give them to any GOP candidate that is the difference right there. Of course, it is not safe to assume that everyone who voted for Paul in the primary would have turned out and voted GOP if another candidate was on the ballot. Nor it is safe to assume that Ron Paul would have won a general election against President Obama or that the Libertarian ideology would sell to the majority of Americans.
Several "Ron Paul Republicans" won close House races, however, including Thomas Massie in Kentucky, and Justin Amash and Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan. Yet Republican "Tea Party" candidates lost across the board -- again. That is an indication that Ron Paul may have fared better against President Obama in the general election than Mitt Romney did.
But that is not the point. The point is that neither party should suppress voters, intimidate delegates and force Americans to vote for establishment candidates picked by party bosses, billionaires and the corporate media. That strategy usually leads to the incumbent party winning, like in 2004, but also leads to lack of new ideas and the potential for real change. The American people should be allowed to make their own choices. Rigged elections are one of the 14 defining characteristics of fascism.
It is safe to assume that many Ron Paul supporters would have turned out and voted had they not been suppressed and alienated by their own party leaders. While all exit polling, post-election assumptions and even the statistics are an inexact science, one thing is clear. The GOP not only turned off large amounts of women and minority voters, but a lot of young people within their own party. Hopefully all parties involved, not only political parties, learned something from what the GOP did to Ron Paul and his supporters.
Here is what one Ron Paul supporter was quoted saying on a Libertarian blog: "I want to make sure that when the Republican Party loses, terribly"I want [them to know] it's because they systematically shut out the most intelligent, most youthful and active voting bloc in American history."
And here is what Joanne Ransing wrote on my blog:
I am a 54 year old Ron Paul supporter and was a Registered Republican. After 35 years as a Republican, I changed to Independant this year after the Republican National Convention. Previously, I worked at the polls, collected signatures, attended meetings and was generally active in the Party all my life. My parents were Republican commitee persons. Finally, I threw in the towel. The right wing extremists drove me out of the Party. This year, I drove a 12-passenger van on election day and took elderly people to the polls to vote. They were from a poor neighborhood and most were Obama voters. I wanted to do all I could to defeat Romney. As a swingstate Republican, I even voted for Obama to help stop Romney. We told them they can't win without us and they said - we don't want you. Such a shame. I met so many young people that had so much energy and were so excited by the message of Ron Paul. I'll never uderstand why the GOP rejected them. It could have made all the difference.
Perhaps GOP leaders should take a closer look at disenfranchising their own voters instead of blaming Mother Nature, the changing demographics in America or candidates that are not conservative enough. Very few Americans seem to care for disenfranchisement, voter suppression and intimidation.
Republicans now have fours years to think about that while they argue among themselves and while President Obama continues to try to fix the mess that their last "winner" left for America.
Submitters Website: http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-madison/gregory-patin
Gregory Patin is a free-lance writer residing in Madison, WI. He earned a BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a MS in IT management from Colorado Tech. He is politically independent and not affiliated with either the Democrat or Republican party.