Fair warning: Since I am addressing an article based on opinion, this article, too, will be based on opinion; however, I will give references where able.
JB Williams, in an article carried by the Canada Free Press, describes several reasons why Ron Paul is dangerous to the Republican presidential nomination, the Republican party, as well as the very security of the United States itself. I think that these accusations are inaccurate, at best.
Before beginning, I need to admit some facts about myself and the Ron Paul campaign:
- I support Ron Paul. And, since I do, there may be a bias in this article.
- Ron Pauls campaign has benefited greatly from their communities efforts to grab national headlines. These efforts, such as thisnovember5th.com, are nothing more than attempts to gain notice through fund raising.
- Ron Paul does trail the so-called “top-tier” candidates in both fund raising and poll results — by a wide margin.
- Because of the above two facts, I must acknowledge that I don’t believe Ron Paul has the best chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination. Aside from those active in the political circle, very few people even know who Ron Paul is, let alone want to vote for him.
In his article Mr. Williams has one major point of contention with the Ron Paul campaign: where does the money come from, and what does that means about Pauls political opinions?
Where is All that Money Coming From?
According to the official campaign fund raising filings at OpenSecrets.org, the top company to donate to Ron Paul is Google, with $22,250 in donations. The second and third most come from the US Army and US Navy at $21,018 and $14,105, respectively.
While Mr. Williams lists Google correctly as the top contributor, he never states — or even acknowledges — that the donations listed do not come from the organizations themselves, but “rather the money came from organization’s PAC, its individuals members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families.” As you can see, those contributions listed for Google comes from a wide range of locations — including people who may not even work directly at Google .
“Google,” Mr. Williams writes, “… has a long history of progressive political activism … in their campaign contribution habits, which is solidly Democrat, with the exception of Ron Paul.”
(Please note this quote is edited. I encourage you to read his full article to acquire context. The accusations of censorship made by Mr. Williams will not be addressed here. Ironically, I found his article through a search on Google.)
While Mr. Williams is correct in that Google, as a whole, has donated more to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he is either not aware of the contributions made to the campaigns of Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain, or chose to ignore them .
Poll Numbers and Campaign Methods
Mr. Williams asserts that, since the political contributions are coming from the liberal wing of the political spectrum, the monetary numbers cannot translate into poll numbers. “His donors are not Republicans,” Mr. Williams writes. “So, no matter how much money he raises, it is not translating into Republican support in the polls.”
There is more truth in these words than Mr. Williams even realizes, I think; however, in order to properly address we must first understand two things: how these polls work and who Ron Pauls campaign is targeting.
Most organizations poll “likely voters” – in this case, “likely Republican voters” which generally means Republicans who voted in the last election. This excludes a long list of people, including:
- People who did not vote in the last election.
- New voters (in some cases, pollsters limit the age group to people over 21, but this is rare).
- People who have recently switched parties.
- People who do not own a land-line (including people who exclusively use a cell phone).
- Non-Republicans who intend to vote Republican (this is true in states such as Washington where there is no political party registration and the primaries are open).
While I will concede that the percentage of people in some of these demographics are not significant enough to make a difference — for example, the non-republicans who intend to vote Republican — other factors have the potential to make a huge impact: there are more than enough college-aged people who work exclusively with a cell phone.
In order for these polling discrepancies to be meaningful in any way the campaign, obviously, cannot go after the classic Republican voter — the same voter who selected George W. Bush in the last election cycle.
“Because Paul supporters know that support coming from non-Republicans is not reflected in the Republican polls,” Mr. Williams writes, “they have started a campaign to promote party-jumping so that their anti-war supporter’s from the left can vote in the Republican primary.”
While he acknowledges that the efforts to “party-jump” are an integral part of getting Ron Paul elected, he makes two claims that stand out about the sanity and constitutionality of this election method:
Mr. Williams contends that “the mere notion that a Republican presidential candidate should be nominated by [party-jumping] is insane and very dangerous to the entire election process.” He fails to address the fact that several political parties have had their entire political viewpoints changed because party-jumpers came across and helped sway the overall opinion of the party.
He also fails to address why this method of getting votes is “insane” and “dangerous to the entire election process” — in fact, party-jumping is nothing new to the Republican party: Strom Thurmon and Ronald Regan jumped from the Democratic party to the Republican party. Indeed, I dare say that the entire Republican party has been defined by party-jumping in the last 50 years.
Mr. Williams contends that “at a minimum, it is a demonstration of just what kind of people are behind the Ron Paul campaign, obviously, not constitutionally conscious people.”
In preparation for writing this rebuttal I read through the United States Constitution multiple times. I am unable to find any reference to the unconstitutionality of changing party affiliations or voting outside of your statistical voting norm. Nor can I find reference to the unconstitutionality of people changing their opinions based on new facts presented over the course of time.
At no point does the Constitution of the United States ever decree what an individual cannot do — outside of Amendment 18, which has since been repealed — but instead it states what the government can and cannot do.
The constitutionality and, indeed, the legality of the “party-switching” campaign is not in question. I can only conclude that Mr. Williams is confused about some piece of legislation, or simply has not read the Constitution.
“I can not agree with the campaign tactics of using leftist money and votes to hijack the Republican nomination and I’m shocked that any Republican would,” Mr. Williams writes. He, however, seems to ignore that the Republican party was not always the so-called “right wing” party it has become.
During Ronald Regans administration the Republican party advocated small government, low taxes, and a foreign policy of non-intervention. It wasn’t until Bill Clinton took office that a movement within the Republican party started to take hold: “Christian conservatives” started their own campaign of party-jumping to get people elected in the House and Senate. They used the same tactics Ron Pauls supporters are using in order to get elected: either vote for the Republican candidate that you support, or switch parties and vote.
To use Mr. Williams’ imagery, the Republican party was hijacked with the use of “rightist” money and votes.
I contest, then, Mr. Williams’ closing remarks:
“There’s really no need to write another word about Ron Paul. If you can know all of these facts, follow the money and the links provided for their campaign tactics and still support him, you’re no Republican, much less a conservative or constitutionalist.”
I disagree. Traditionally, a conservative was one who supported small government and minimal spending. In fact, the name implies that there is some kind of ideal of conserving. Modern conservatives — so-called “neo-cons” — are not conservative in almost any respect: they support big government and more spending.
As for not being a constitutionalist: the very definition of a constitutionalist is someone who follows the constitution to the letter. Given that Mr. Williams’ views on the constitutionality of the party-switching campaign are questionable at best, his opinions on the matter are a moot point.
Mr. Williams is right to conclude that there is not much else to write about Dr. Paul: he has consistantly voted against unconstitutional actions  and has voted with his political affiliation of a contitutionalist, rather than what he personally feels.
- OpenSecrets.org, “How to Read this Chart”
- OpenSecrets.org, Search for Google
- Washington Post, List of votes by Ron Paul
[tags]ron paul, election 2008[/tags]