What Does Ron Paul Really Want?
In 2008, nobody much cared what Ron Paul wanted: He was dismissed as a fringe candidate, someone defined by the decades he spent losing 434-to-one votes in the House and refusing to endorse his party’s presidential candidate. In this presidential cycle, however, questions about Paul’s intentions have risen, precisely because his performance has begun to resemble that of a conventional politician who can compete if not win. Indeed, it’s a sign of Ron Paul’s greatly enhanced influence that Republicans are still asking, this far into the primary season: What does the man want?
The primary season has consistently furnished evidence of Paul’s outsized influence. Of course, Paul has not won a single caucus or primary so far this year. But as Micah Cohen explained in early April, he more than doubled his vote as compared to 2008, despite spending less money. He attracted well over a million votes—about 10 percent of the aggregate vote in primaries and 20 percent in caucuses. Even as Rick Santorum and (finally) Newt Gingrich dropped out of the race, Paul has persisted.