Rand Paul presidency could unify left/right divide in America…
As the beginning of the 2016 presidential election nears closer, Senator Rand Paul seems to be clearly moving toward announcing his intention to seek the highest office in the country. Paul stated in a recent interview that he is planning to make his final decision in March or early April. A source close to the Senator specified April 7 as a more concrete deadline. A date in early April makes plenty of sense, as the beginning of the next Federal Election Commission quarterly reporting period is on April 1.
Senator Paul’s candidacy presents an excellent opportunity for libertarians in 2016. In spite of not yet having the name identification of candidates like Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, Paul is making waves in most polls, including those in the all-important primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. By most estimates, somewhere between 20% and 30% of Americans still do not know enough about Paul to formulate an opinion. However, among those who do know of the junior Senator from Kentucky, Paul tends to have an even split between favorable and disfavorable numbers, which is more than can be said for many of his potential Republican rivals, including Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
In spite of his current disadvantage in that arena (which will surely change by the end of 2015), Paul regularly does best among all Republicans against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. In polls released today from Quinnipiac on the state of the 2016 race in Colorado, Virginia and Iowa, all states won by President Obama in 2012, the polling company reports that Paul “is in a virtual tie with [Clinton] in Colorado and Virginia,” while he finishes a mere 8 points behind in Iowa, only 1 point behind the pace of 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee.
As previously stated, Paul is doing exceptionally well in early Republican primary polls as well. Yesterday’s Gravis Marketing poll showed him in a 2nd place tie with Jeb Bush in “first in the nation” Iowa, reflecting the same findings as a February 1 Des Moines Register poll which found him in 2nd place behind Scott Walker by only 1 point. Additionally, Paul excels in New Hampshire, where he is only 4 points behind leader Bush in the latest NBC News poll and 3 points behind him according to the latest poll by Bloomberg. This is all in conjunction with the fact that in the latest national poll, conducted by FOX News, Paul is in 2nd place, only 2 points behind Bush.
What do all of these numbers mean? They signify that Paul can be a threat to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, which has not been done by a Republican since Gerald Ford in 1976. If Paul were to win both states, his candidacy would be difficult to stop, and establishment Republicans would begin to scramble to find a way to keep him from the nomination. This would be likely in vain, as enough momentum will have likely been accrued by then to propel Paul to victory.
Rand Paul represents a unique opportunity for Republicans to contrast themselves with Democrats. Hillary Clinton represents the “old guard” of American politics. She believes that through her relationship with her husband, she is entitled to have her chance to rule. She has been in politics for over 40 years, beginning with her involvement in the Watergate hearings. She represents the status quo of more government, both domestically and abroad.
On the other hand, Senator Paul represents the new era of American politics. On inauguration day 2017, he would be only 54 years old, making him the youngest Republican President to be elected since (ironically) libertarian hero Calvin Coolidge won his second term in 1924. He has served in only one political office for one term. While he has been wise and tactical in his political posturing, he has always remained principled in defense of liberty. If we are lucky enough to have Rand Paul as our next President, we can only hope he is able to restore America to the principles upon which it was founded.