There’s been much discussion about the future of the Ron Paul people. The easy conclusion is it is a difficult call to make, given the fact that the movement itself is extremely diverse and full of individuals with strong conviction. There are calls for a third party rise, with the possibility of the Libertarian Party of Maine becoming prominent in Maine politics in the near future. But the most followed path at this point seems to be the continued shift in the Republican Party.
Congressman Ron Paul entered politics when his interest in economics led him to discover something was wrong with how this country was run. Inspired by prominent individuals in the Austrian School of Economics, such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, Congressman Paul led a lonely charge for many years against the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve itself is an unstable system, a private banking cartel that has sole control of an unopposed paper currency without backing in any precious metal. This concerned Paul, a doctor who operated his own medical practice, a unique business that deals directly with the lives and health of everyday people.
A Republican in Congress who took stands regardless of popularity, he led the Texas delegation in support of Ronald Reagan in 1976. Reagan would again take a shot at the Republican nomination, win, and then make a successful run at the Presidency in the 1980 general election. Before Reagan became a bandwagon trend in the party, Paul was standing up for him and supporting aggressively.
The legacy of Ron Paul, which millions of people across America are in the process of inheriting, is one of standing up even when doing so alone. For decades, Congressman Paul was the lone opponent of the Federal Reserve and just this year, his “Federal Reserve Transparency Act” overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. He ran for President in 2008 and was laughed out of the arena. The grassroots matured and expanded, and in 2012, he was and still is considered, a major threat to the stability of the Republican establishment.
It is for this reason that people will not run from the Republican Party en masse following the general election. This is the ultimate hope of the mainstream moderates and the establishment types, that the Ron Paul people will jump ship, run into the corner, and wave their fists in discontent while fading into the shadows of political history. Many are even counting on this, laying low until after the election passing, so they can re-enter and reclaim what they have lost over the last nine months.
The trends this year suggest the opposite will happen. The Republican Party has become a structure of controversy and disconnection, creating problem after problem as time goes on. The caucuses were a mess, the convention was dragged out, and the national delegation was total war. All the while, instead of reacting bitter as the establishment has done, the Ron Paul people have remained. While retaining their party affiliation, they are running for offices at all levels, from town councils all the way up to Congress. This is not turning around and running away after the election, this is staying for the long haul.
The future of liberty is bright in Maine, with a number of organizations ready to carry on the torch that Ron Paul lit and passed off to these many activists. The Campaign for Liberty, the organization that was spawned from the ashes of Paul’s 2008 presidential run, is alive and well and has inherited much of the 2012 campaign’s leadership structure in Maine.
The Republican Party can chose from two paths at this point. The first path, which seems to be the one preferred by those in power, is one of resistance and oppression. Instead of embracing the new activists who bring a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the table, they have been turned away. The path that should be taken however, is the second, which would be the path of the big tent. Nationally, Democrats have a much higher enrollment than Republicans. Republicans thus must rely on a diverse appeal to reel in Independents and disaffected Democrats. To do this, the leadership of the Republican Party must welcome people with open arms, even if they disagree at times, and allow for healthy internal debate.
Either way though, the Ron Paul Revolution is here to stay for a very long time. As Ron Paul said at the Rally for the Republic in 2008, paraphrasing Victor Hugo, “an idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government.” This meaning the political paradigm shift is on.