primary

A view of the Ron Paul Revolution, Pt. I

So right off the bat, let me just disclose the following: I am a proud Ron Paul supporter. I’ve been aware of Dr. Paul since the turn of the century. I’ve been reading “Texas Straight Talk,” his weekly correspondence, for going on a decade, and have been known, from time to time, to actually call the number that has his weekly, pre-recorded message in order to actually hear the man, in his own words, speak those wonderful words of truth and freedom.

I was involved with the grassroots effort of his 2008 run and donated to that campaign and his congressional campaign as well. Now, four years later, I am currently serving as my county’s coordinator for the Georgia for Ron Paul grassroots group and have made multiple donations to the RP2012 campaign.

Simply put—I’m a fan.

For many out there, the Ron Paul Revolution is all but dead. A minor historical footnote. How wrong these people are.  For you see, this thing is still growing. It really is. Despite a virtual, media blackout and more dirty tricks by the GOP establishment than you can shake a stick at, this beautiful, organic phenomenon is still growing.

Let’s start with delegates. FOX News and many other outlets are grossly under-reporting Dr. Paul’s delegate count at around 50; however, CNN, as it has been during this entire cycle, has a more accurate count of 71. But they’re all wrong. We won’t know for sure until all of the district and state conventions wrap up, but Dr. Paul could very well be looking at a count in the several hundreds. It is most likely that the Paul campaign will have a strong majority of delegates in the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and several others. Hell, if it goes to a contested convention with multiple ballots, there will be Ron Paul delegates waiting in the wings in the Georgia Delegation. And there are several contests left where Paul could pick up more delegates.

Should a libertarian support voter ID laws?

Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote.  Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID.  The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well.  Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.

For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous.  Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected.  And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.

So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take.  On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important.  We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters.  On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons.  If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.

Who Has The Party Delegates?

What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.

During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.

Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.

Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Summing up the GOP race to this point

As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.

Michele Bachmann

Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.

Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.

Gary Johnson

Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.

Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.

Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.

What to expect tonight in New Hampshire?

Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.

As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.

Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.

Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.

Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.

Bayh’s Retirement Not Hurting Democrats As Much As Most Think It Will

After absorbing the news from every outlet on earth yesterday, even our own editor’s take, on the “surprise” retirement of Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, I have to say that analysts are not considering all the “good” that can come from his retirement from the U.S. Senate.  It seems that everyone predicts a Republican to pick up his seat in November.  Lately, I have been among the few to see some things that ebb against the accepted flow in analyzing races and situations.  This is another such ebb.

I think the reason that Bayh waited until Presidents’ Day to announce his retirement was to prevent someone relatively unknown, like Tamyra d’Ippolito, from garnering the nomination without a primary election AND without their seal of approval by collecting the requisite signatures necessary to get on the primary ballot.  The Democrats have an opportunity to select a candidate, since it seems that d’Ippolito did not achieve the 4500 signatures necessary to get on the ballot.  If she had, that is the WORST CASE SCENARIO for Democrats.  By waiting, Bayh almost assured that the state Democrat Party could spend time vetting, choosing and fundraising for someone “moderate” enough to win the state, but “progressive” enough to fully support the agenda of the party for the next six years.  While d’Ippolito likely fills out the latter, there is no chance she can accommodate the former.

Today in Liberty: Democrats seek election strategy from an unpopular president, California Senate passes anti-NSA bill

“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.” — Thomas B. Reed

— Happy Primary Day: Voters in six states, including Georgia and Kentucky, will head to the polls to cast their votes in party primaries. The race for the Republican nomination in Georgia will be one of the most-watched of the night. While polls show three candidates (David Perdue, Jack Kingston, and Karen Handel) are eyeing two runoff slots, low voter turnout could turn things upside down. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to easily win renomination. Republicans in Oregon are expected to nominate Monica Wehby to take on Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in what appears to be a competitive race. That is is Wehby’s personal issues don’t knock her out of contention.

Today in Liberty: Americans reject Obama’s “change,” Supreme Court passes on gun rights case

“The phone records of innocent Americans do not relate to terrorism, whatsoever; and they are not reasonably likely to lead to information that relates to terrorism. Put simply, the phone calls we make to our friends, our families, and business associates are private and have nothing to do with terrorism or the government’s efforts to stop it.” — Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

— Primary day in North Carolina: Voters in the Tar Heel State will head to the polls today to cast their votes in their respective party primaries. Among the most watched races is the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, where Greg Brannon is hoping to pull state House Speaker Thom Tillis into a runoff. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited the state yesterday to stump for Brannon. “As we stand here, the debt clock is spiraling out of control,” Paul told a crowd gathered in Charlotte. “Send us a champion. Send us a hero. Send us a dragon slayer,” he added, referring to Brannon. Public Policy Polling’s final survey, released yesterday, shows that Brannon has picked up steam, but Tillis is hovering at the 40 percent mark needed to avoid the runoff.

Political dynasties are created one vote at a time

Bush dynasty

I have a confession to make. I am part of the problem. I have helped to create the next generation of a nepotistic political dynasty. I voted for George P. Bush.

Since there appears to be a Jeb Bush 2016 media boomlet going on, dynasticism is once again the flavor of the month. People often talk of political dynasties like the Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy families like they are imposed on the country from on high against the will of the people. As many problems as the democratic institutions of our republic have, we still elect our representatives by popular vote, whether they have a well known last name or not. And George P. Bush is the perfect example of that.

Generally opposed to political dynasties, I vowed to support whoever ran against Bush for the state office. Then I started researching the dozens of candidates on the ballot for various positions and found out that his opponent, David Watts, is a crazy person.

My opposition to xenophobia outweighs my opposition to nepotism, so I was forced to vote for George P. Bush. I could have abstained on that race, of course, but the result would have been the same. With my help, the youngest member of the Bush dynasty is now well on his way to the White House.

Does that sound presumptive? It’s not.

Today in Liberty: Texas kicks off 2014 election cycle, foreign policy hawks slam Rand Paul

“Once the principle is admitted that it is duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.” — Ludwig von Mises

— Happy Primary Day, Texas: Our friends in the Lone Star State head to the polls today for the first round of congressional primaries for the 2014 election cycle. Jamie Dupree has a run down of some of races in Texas, including incumbents who have challengers. The one race to watch will be in TX-32, where Katrina Pierson is challenging Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). The conservative activist-turned-candidate has received support from Sarah Palin and several outside groups. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is facing primary challenges from his right, is expected to win renomination.

— McConnell open to bringing back filibuster: Per The New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hints that he’s open to restoring the filibuster for executive nominations. “If the American people give us the opportunity to put the Senate under new management, it is an appropriate discussion at that time for the new team that would be taking over the Senate,” McConnell told the Times. “It is a conversation for December.” Senate Democrats gutted the filibuster in November in an effort to distract from the disastrous Obamacare rollout and pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

 


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