Rand Paul dropped out of the presidential race today and with him went the last bastion of hope for any sort of libertarian influence within the Republican Party. I’m not very interested in politics anymore and don’t see it as the main vehicle to achieve liberty, but if a politician can benefit the movement, then I’ll support it.
I didn’t see Rand Paul as that kind of politician. He was clearly the best candidate among the Democrats and Republicans, but that’s like me being the best soccer player among four year olds. Some people seem to think that Paul is holding back and trying to become “main stream” before revealing his true identity as the libertarian savior, the next coming of his father. I hope that’s the case.
I do think that if an “outsider,” a legitimate libertarian, wants to make it big, they need to attract the base. Ron Paul did it with libertarians and Bernie Sanders is doing it with the socialists. You need that grassroots support to get your word out. Rand Paul, looking more like a somewhat libertarian-leaning Republican than a libertarian who happened to run as a Republican, was immediately rejected by the very base that could have helped pump him up in popularity. Ron Paul, that “crazy old guy,” was a legitimate candidate last election cycle. He was doomed to lose, but he made some headway. You’ve got to differentiate yourself and get people excited about you and your political goals. The chances of electing a libertarian as president are slim to none but the impact of making libertarian ideas more mainstream is devastating to the state in the long run.
People want something different in the world of politics. They’re getting sick of the same old people saying the same old things. This is part of the reason why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have gained popularity. They represent a change. I hope in four years Rand Paul enters the race again and is called the crazy guy from Kentucky. Otherwise I fear his efforts are a waste of time.