Paul Shows He’s In This Campaign For The Long Term
On Monday, Rand Paul made a $250,000 down payment to the Republican Party of Kentucky in order to allow the state party to conduct a Presidential caucus in March, thus allowing Paul to dually defend his US Senate seat and pursue the Presidency. As some skepticism has been recently had about the seriousness of Paul’s Presidential run, this significant contribution should quiet any doubts that Paul is aiming to become the Republican nominee. The final vote is to be held on August 22nd.
This week, Paul is taking a break from the campaign trail to perform pro bono eye surgeries in Haiti, an annual voyage he makes in order to maintain his licensure as an ophthalmologist. His recess is well-deserved, as Paul was the second of the 17 Republican contenders to announce his candidacy, with only Ted Cruz having a longer stay in the race.
The trip to Haiti and vote on the Kentucky caucuses also coincides with a period where Paul is beginning to truly make himself known to the American public. In the first Republican debate, Paul sparred with Chris Christie over the NSA spying program and attacked Donald Trump for his crony capitalist tendencies, all while receiving the least time of any of the 10 who were on stage for the primetime debate. Since then, Paul has made a habit of standing up to Trump while exhibiting the libertarian tendencies that made Paul the “most interesting man in politics.”
Also noteworthy is that Senator Paul’s father, libertarian icon Ron Paul, recently took the time to pen a formal endorsement of his son, in what could perhaps be seen as tacitly chastising the many “libertarians” who have been extra critical of the younger Paul. Congressman Paul is also rumored to be meeting with some of his former donors in order to court them for Senator Paul’s campaign. These developments should help to bring more energy to the campaign, just as the 2016 cycle moves closer to the final quarter of 2015.
For as much doom-and-gloom as there seems to be in libertarian circles about Paul’s campaign, the newest CNN opinion poll, released today, shows Paul in 6th place, very much “in the thick of things,” and ahead of supposed beneficiaries from the debate like Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich. Perhaps most notably, Paul’s share of 6% doubles that of adversary Chris Christie.
As has been noted far too many times, this campaign is just at its beginning. Most Americans are not yet paying full attention to the developments in the race. No matter what is to happen during this summer, it is easy to note that certain candidates have unique messages that will likely resonate and allow those candidates to separate from the pack. No better example is Rand Paul, whose “libertarian-ish” message is sure to catch the ears and eyes of many Republicans who have grown tired of endless wars and unprincipled candidates.
One need only remember also that Ron Paul received over 21% of the votes cast in both Iowa and New Hampshire. These totals came in a 2012 field less than half the size of the 2016 field, meaning that if Senator Paul is merely able to mobilize those same people, he could handily win those two primaries in addition to the Nevada primary, where the Paul campaign infrastructure is perhaps at its strongest.
Senator Paul’s down payment on the Kentucky caucus plan is merely another marker of the beginning of this race. Appropriately, Paul is not looking to the past, but rather to the future, where his campaign will finally have room to prosper. If Paul is able to piece together excellent performances in early states and gain momentum, the race will become more interesting as it heads to Paul’s home state of Kentucky.