Michael Brendan Dougherty
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Ron Paul’s supporters in Iowa are very loyal and very excited. And they are poised to make Paul the winner of the Iowa Caucuses next month.
This isn’t the script the media has been writing for this campaign. Instead, “Tea Party Queen” Michelle Bachman, who beat Paul by just a few score votes at the Ames Straw poll earlier this year, was supposed to win this state – and confirm that the GOP has gone bonkers.
Bachmann is polling in the low single digits now. Since Ames, Ron Paul has put in the most time in Iowa, he is running the best ads, making the sharpest criticisms of his rivals, and putting together the best organization.
In Iowa he polls behind only Newt Gingrich, the latest flavor of the week. But Gingrich commands little in the way of organization, money, or loyalty with voters.
This is no longer a political novelty act. It’s not a seminar on the Constitution disguised as a campaign. This is the emergence of a populist-libertarian force that is growing into an organized movement in American politics.
And if Paul shocks the establishment in Iowa, January 3rd 2012 will be recorded in history as this movement’s coming out party.
At the Washington Examiner Conn Carrol points out that all the polling shows that even though 66 percent of Iowa Caucus-goers could change their mind before January, Ron Paul’s supporters are the most devoted of any candidate’s in this contest.
“The people who like Ron Paul are intensely loyal and they will turn out [on caucus day] no matter what,” said Jeff Stein, a political analyst and Iowa caucus historian tells The Washington Examiner. “I don’t think there is that kind of loyalty for any other candidate in the field.”
And why wouldn’t they be loyal? Ron Paul is offering something distinctive in this race – a return to a non-interventionist foreign policy, sound money, and Constitutional principles. And he has the ability to expand his support beyond his loyal fans, Iowa Republicans rate him the “most honest and trustworthy” among all candidates. It’s his consistency, even when he is at odds with the average Republican voter, that has impressed Texas voters for years.
Even if Paul fails to win the nomination, his campaign ,like Goldwater’s in 1964, can help leading libertarians identify their supporters and build long-term political institutions that can draw on their fund-raising power and activist energy for decades.
And this movement may have already have its next champion, in Ron’s son, Rand Paul.
This article was posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 10:15 am