Note: Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be posting predictions/reflections on the 2016 Primaries as the race begins to unfold. Each of the posts will be just a snapshot of each potential candidate. As the race comes into focus, you can certainly expect deeper analyses.
The Road to 2016: Rand Paul
Current Junior Senator from Kentucky
Elected in 2010 on the Tea Party Wave
Son of the Congressman and Presidential Candidate Ron Paul
Made an impassioned filibuster to get an explanation regarding the Obama Administration’s policy regarding drone strikes against American citizens without due process. #StandWithRand
Advocates a middle-way on American foreign policy that strikes a more conciliatory tone with Americas “enemies” in order to understand and prevent future conflicts.
Has gone out of his way to address minority concerns. While this has been met with some ridicule, the consensus seems to be that he is at least trying to make genuine overtures on issues that matter in minority communities. Poignantly, Senator Paul was one of the prominent voices in the Republican Party criticizing police tactics and militarization following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
Keys to the Party:
Embodies the new-libertarian movement in the party and has moderated his father’s hard-line positions regarding American involvement abroad
Has shown that he can play ball and raise a lot of money from disaffected Republicans
Has trimmed the conspiracy-theory fringe supporters who hurt his father’s campaign.
Keys to the Press:
A new-brand of Republican who is a civil libertarian
Would be an effective change for the nation
Would reduce the size and scope of government in ordinary Americans’ lives
Would allow states to have more power
Would reduce federal market regulations
During a period of instability and anti-Americanism abroad, there has been a resurgence of hawkish rhetoric in the party that Senator Paul’s nuanced policies do not penetrate
Senator Paul has had to force himself to embrace Israel lest he be marginalized in national office.
Senator Paul still has baggage by virtue of his father’s name. While there are countless, primarily young, people who were and are supporters of Congressman Paul, those ideas are not yet in the mainstream of American political thought and will be a challenge.
Senator Paul had previously commented that the Civil Rights Act was an overreach of Federal power. While he has clarified this from a civil libertarian perspective and has made numerous inroads, or at least has made attempts to open dialogue, with minority groups, the baggage of these comments, coupled with his father’s perceived racial bias, will be tough to shake.
Odds of Running:
The way Senator Paul does not run is if the Kentucky legislature refuses to allow him to stand for President and Senator at the same time. There are deals in the works to change this rule, but as the law currently stands at this moment, Senator Paul would have to choose one over the other. If it looks like the Republican field would be too crowded, Senator Paul may use this state law issue to have a second term in the Senate and sit this presidential cycle out.
Odds of Winning the Nomination:
Disclaimer: the author intends to support Senator Paul.
With that disclaimer aside, a stacked R
epublican primary full of interventionist rhetoric and old-guard money will make Senator Paul’s trip through the early social conservative caucuses and primaries difficult. While he is likely to be one of the only candidates striking the libertarian tone and this may create a powerful 10% voting bloc in most plurality elections, so much funding is contingent on high performance in the early social conservative outlets.
Senator Paul will likely not win in Iowa but would have to have an excellent showing in New Hampshire in order to solidify his libertarian bona fides going into later primaries. In the event he has a core bloc that is able to carry him through into the time when flameout candidates fall off the campaign, he has a much better chance at being the “compromise” against another “establishment” candidate.
Odds of a Cabinet Position:
Mr. Paul will return to the Senate if he fails to secure the nomination.
Rand Paul is the evolution of the libertarian-Republican movement of the “Tea Party.” Rather than being driven by anger, it presents a middle-way forward that is not wholly despised by Democrats. Mr. Paul would be able to garner support from libertarian-leaning Democrats who feel that Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will not support individual liberties. In a way, because of Ms. Clinton’s baggage from her time as Secretary of State, Mr. Paul’s policies for American power projection abroad, may be more non-interventionist than Ms. Clinton, who will have to reiterate many of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy goals or else risk alienating part of her base.
I support Rand Paul for the Presidency. A forward-thinking foreign policy combined with economic strategies reminiscent of a time when America was growing could usher in a time of prosperity for the nation.