We’re often reminded to be practical in our selection of candidates. We can’t accomplish anything in government unless we win elections. Thus we select candidates that are perceived as safe. Safe, in this case, meaning inoffensive, non-threatening people that can be just conservative enough during the primaries and then pivot to the requisite moderate talking points during the general election.
The problem with this approach is two-fold. One, it advances candidates of indeterminable convictions that may or may not actually govern as conservatives. Look at the relentlessly upward trajectory of government spending through even Republican administrations for proof of that. Two, it doesn’t work. Republicans nominated “safe” candidates in 2008 and 2012. They lost. Bush 43 barely scraped a victory and lost the popular vote in 2000, when the demographics of the country were more favorable to Republicans. If he ran today as a first-time candidate he would lose. Bush 41 lost to Clinton after winning the 1988 election on Reagan’s coat tails. Safe candidates don’t win elections for Republicans.
The Republican party is at a demographic crossroads. Although reports of the party’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, there is some truth to notion that the Republican base is shrinking in relative terms. Concerns over racial voting patterns are largely overblown (recall the Irish were once an unshakable Democratic voting block), but it’s true that Republicans need to think hard about attracting young and minority voters. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles, but it does mean we need to think about how to get our message out, and who should be our messenger-in-chief. Traditional Republican candidates haven’t done the trick, and as Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting different results.
[mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] can attract young voters, who are a must-have for any winning Republican strategy. Young people have always been comparatively more liberal than their elders, but the effect has been greater than usual in recent elections. They went roughly 2 to 1 for Barack Obama in 2008 and only a little less in 2012. Republicans won the 2014 mid-terms in large part because more young people stayed home in comparison to 2012. History tells us they won’t stay home for a Presidential election, which means if we’re going to win the White House we must have a candidate that can shake up the youth vote. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] is the only candidate in the Republican field that can possibly bring out young people in the kinds of numbers needed to shift an election.
Why do I believe he can bring out the young? Because he’s already done so. At last year’s CPAC 46% of registrants were between 18 and 25 years old. They went overwhelmingly for [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]. He also helped his father to get more young votes than any other Republican candidate in the early contests of 2012 on the backs of a movement sustained by college kids. His issues resonate with millennials, half of whom describe themselves as unaffiliated with any political party, and who polls say care more about privacy and liberty issues than their elders. Government surveillance, detentions without process, personal liberty and skepticism of authority (public and private) are the issues where Republican ideas intersect with the attitudes of young Americans. Thus it’s unsurprising that the candidate most devoted to personal liberty issues is the Republican candidate that polls best among the young.
[mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] is the real deal, a solid conservative who has always been the voice for smaller government and due process. He’s tapped into the central conservative issue of our time, the failure of Congress, the President and the courts to adequately supervise the federal administrative state–which has thereby become an unelected shadow government exercising the powers of all three branches with minimal oversight. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]’s book, “Government Bullies,” sounds the alarm of just how oppressive unaccountable public officials can be. The Senator calls on us to stand up for the simple right of individuals to live their own lives free of violent compulsion by bullies that think they have the right and wisdom to tell other human beings how to live.
I, for one, intend to stand with [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ].