Although some of his supporters might be disappointed with Ron Paul's fifth place showing in the Iowa caucus, it certainly is not the end or the last we have heard from him. Many have lost early primaries and have gone on to win the nomination. Iowa demonstrated that his Internet presence can translate into real support on the ground. Many forget that not so long ago he was polling in low single digit numbers, therefore to finish with 10% of the vote can only be seen as positive. This is a huge victory because not only does it build more momentum and set the stage for New Hampshire, but it ensures that his message will reach more people. To exclude him from any debates at this point is a travesty of justice, and denies the American people the opportunity to hear his simple but popular message of hope and freedom.
It would have been nice to finish ahead of both McCain and Thompson, but Ron Paul supporters can take some comfort in placing ahead of Giuliani, who finished with 4% of the vote. Giuliani did make more visits to Iowa than Paul, but he still wasn't expected to win. Paul beat him more than 2-1, and managed to capture one out of every ten votes. He is posed to build off that and if he can finish with 15% or higher in New Hampshire, this could put him in the top three. If the field remains close, this could also favor him. In a tight race, a split in votes could lead to Ron Paul coming right up the middle. He has more money and resources than some of his opponents, and this puts him at an advantage. The nomination could go down to the wire, with Paul winning or playing a key role.
Throughout the campaign, Ron Paul has been ridiculed and attacked for his views, as well as ignored and excluded from polls and debates. Nevertheless, he has shown remarkable resiliency. His huge Internet support, his ability to raise substantial amounts of money, and his 10% of the vote in Iowa have made ignoring him that much harder. He has never been one of the establishment media-preferred candidates, but with his support and polling numbers on the rise, there is no reason for him to be excluded from the Fox News debate. He deserves to be heard. Let the American people make their choice. Trying to suppress his message could have the reverse effect. It is because of his powerful message that he has been catapulted from relative obscurity to legitimate contender and possible spoiler. In the fourth quarter he raised close to $20 million, more than any Democrat or Republican candidate. His support hasn't peaked and he has more room to grow. Nothing seems to be able to derail the Ron Paul revolution, and the longer he stays in the race, the more of a threat he will become.
There is no doubt that a lot of money and resources have been poured into New Hampshire. It is important to have another strong showing, and anything less could torpedo Ron Paul's whole campaign. He doesn't have to win, but another impressive showing will further boast his campaign, and carry over into the next primaries. As the field dwindles down, if he can somehow hang around, the differences between himself and his opponents will become more apparent to the American people and will help his cause. To write off Ron Paul might prove to be unwise, and to underestimate him and his support plays to his advantage. Try as they might, the mainstream media can't ignore this revolution. Ron Paul is still in this race and very much alive.
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It shouldn't be all that surprising that Ron Paul's message of freedom, limited government, lower taxes, following the Constitution, defending American sovereignty, and his non-interventionist policy has been so popular. Some who were disinterested in politics are taking action for the first time. He has restored faith with many who had given up on the whole political process and those sick of the governments lies and corruption. His message of freedom crosses all party lines, and we have him to thank for bringing many key issues to the forefront. This revolution is bigger than Ron Paul- it has given hope and a sense of power back to the people. No longer will our voices be silent, and the actions of his supporters have spawned a movement that will remain in place no matter if he wins or loses. If he does fail in his bid to win the Republican nomination, he will have the support, money, and organizational infrastructure in place to make a serious third party challenge.
The Ron Paul revolution of hope and change has come a long way in a short period of time. After the Iowa results Paul said, “This is not the end. This is the beginning.” He is exactly right, but the big question is, can he win? He could pull off a stunning victory, but regardless, supporting him is the right thing to do. This movement goes well beyond Paul. It is about taking our government and country back. He may be America's last hope, and it is up to use to seize this opportunity and make history. His campaign will continue to astonish his supporters, critics, and the so-called experts. Win or lose, Ron Paul and his supporters have changed the rules and the political landscape forever. Ron Paul's message, his dream, his passion and his legacy will live on.
Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues.