If you didn’t know from the oodles of posters covering campus, Rep. Ron Paul, Republican primary candidate, will take a break from hunting delegates Friday and stop by for a quick visit.
The Liberty For All Super Political Action Committee was on campus Wednesday promoting Ron Paul’s rally by handing out fliers and pamphlets. They gave away airbrushed T-shirts and had candidate comparison sheets.
Thus far, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have yet to grace us with their presence. None of the other Republican candidates managed to show up prior to dropping out either. Had the Texas primaries not been pushed back to May 29 we might have gotten a few more to come by, maybe.
Paul already rallied at Texas A&M University on April 10. He is supposed to make an appearance at the University of Texas today.
And without a doubt thousands of students will show up at each rally. They’ll wear their “Revolution” T-shirts. They’ll shout “President Paul 2012!” and they’ll no doubt spend hundreds of dollars on Ron Paul campaign items like bumper stickers and buttons.
But it takes more than a grass roots round-up of young people to win a primary, not to mention the presidential race.
Romney won the primaries in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware on Tuesday. Ron Paul supporters would be the first to say that Paul didn’t lose; he got second place.
But let’s be honest. Even if Paul wins the Texas primary, he’s still trailing behind Romney. And back when the primary included Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, Paul just wasn’t getting much attention. He was at the debates. He went to the town hall meetings and yes, he gave rally speeches. Yet the media either ignored him or the delegates just went for Santorum or Romney.
Now let’s talk brass tacks. There are 2,286 total delegates the Republican nominees can get. The winner of the Republican primary needs 1,144 delegates. Romney currently has 832 delegates. Ron Paul has 76.
Oh, and Gingrich has 139, incidentally.
Paul just doesn’t have the mainstream support necessary to win the Republican nomination, and his youth-filled rallies, although effective at energizing young people to care about politics, won’t get him in.
This is why some of his supporters want him to run against the incumbent Democratic nominee, President Barack Obama, and whoever the Republican nominee will be.
If Paul ran as a third party candidate, he still wouldn’t win the presidency, but he could successfully siphon votes from one of the other candidates, much like Ralph Nader did in the 2000 presidential race when he was the Green Party candidate.
But Paul won’t do this, either because he doesn’t want to siphon votes or he thinks he can sink the Republican nomination. Some media commentators think he’s refusing to become the “libertarian” candidate because he wants to set a blueprint for his son, even if he himself doesn’t make it to the White House come November.
Paul can energize the untapped youth and win their support at the UH rally Friday, but that won’t make him the Republican candidate.
David Haydon is a political science senior and may be reached at email@example.com.