Senator Rand Paul has been facing a difficult start. Whereas his father, the controversial former Congressman Ron Paul didn’t have any issues hitting double digit poll numbers, the Kentucky Senator is having difficulty hitting just 5%. His fundraising is arguably behind and now the Paul family is facing some controversy due to a group of longtime associates facing criminal charges.
Controversial businessman Donald Trump on the flip side, has billions in declared assets and is regularly polling in the strong double digits. This has largely confused the Republican elite as pundits, talking heads, and moderate leaders absolutely lose their minds over this popularity.
While many are hardly surprised that Republicans are losing sleep over these traumatic developments, it’s somewhat a surprise to see Senator Paul joining the bandwagon against Trump.
In an op-ed titled “Don’t Fall For A Fake Conservative”, Senator Paul takes aim at Trump with a series of confused criticisms that illustrate a complete disregard for strategy and appear more of a desperate attempt to remain relevant. This isn’t the firm man of principle that was elected to the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. Since the Son of Ron was elected, he was slowly cuddled up to the Republican establishment. Strategy or not, at this point, this is a serious misstep.
Let’s breakdown a few points from Senator Paul.
Ripping Donald Trump for past support of prominent Democrats, Senator Paul notes that the Tea Party movement was spawned from outrage with false conservatives. While a valid point, it isn’t entirely clear what a man who endorsed Mitt Romney for President is getting at. Romney was widely panned for being a left-leaning moderate and hardly conservative.
Next point of criticism relates to Trump being a longtime Democrat with liberal views. Specifically, he slams Trump for being an Independent and a Democrat. This appears more confusing for a couple of reasons. In addition to party hero Ronald Reagan being a former Democrat who famously shifted conservative as he became more involved in politics, Senator Paul’s own father ran third party for President against the Republican candidate in the 80s.
In fact, the elder Paul only rejoined the Republican Party because he viewed it as the only way to have a voice in the system. It had nothing to do with the party being conservative or wanting to make buddies at the Old Boy’s Club. He essentially just used the platform for a voice.
Trump’s views again come under fire as the letter goes on. Senator Paul slams Trump for being supportive of abortion before he was against it, much like Mitt Romney was. Romney stated in a televised gubernatorial debate in 2002 that he “will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose,” further stating he wouldn’t do anything to change Massachusetts’ strong pro-choice laws.
Senator Paul then also takes a swing at Trump for being liberal on healthcare, but when it comes to Romney, “Romneycare” hardly requires an introduction. It is enough to make any conservative spit and curse.
Senator Paul then goes onto ask how so many Republicans can support a man who was once an Independent and a Democrat. Well, for starters, how did his own father mount a strong primary campaign four years ago and Ronald Reagan get elected twice? Congressman Paul was once a former third party presidential candidate, while Reagan was a former Democrat.
The op-ed criticism continued, as he attacked Trump for refusing to rule out a third party candidacy, which apparently would guarantee Hillary Clinton the presidency. What is he saying about his own father, who repeatedly refused to rule out a third party candidacy? The former Texas Congressman scared Republicans with the possibility and the media never hesitated to try and corner him like Fox News did Trump.
Third party candidacy will give us Hillary Clinton, like Ross Perot did Bill? One must wonder what Senator Paul would have said had his father actually followed through on a third party or Independent candidacy in 2012.
This all apparently stems from Senator Paul’s concern that the Tea Party movement could be infiltrated by a false conservative. Interesting, considering Senator Paul has previously used his Tea Party status to endorse Mitt Romney for President.
Overall, this isn’t meant to be disparaging of Senator Paul. In a race full of tax-and-spend moderates who favor the NSA and love a good war, Senator Paul stands among a minority of candidates who are saying something different.
But in this desperate move to reboot his image as the “Anti-Trump”, Senator Paul comes out looking like a complete hypocrite who is trying to cling onto relevance with exactly three percent.
Senator Paul needs to stand above the fray. From a strategic standpoint, Donald Trump supporters are potential Rand Paul supporters. If and when Trump falls out of the race, these supporters will be looking for a new home. Where will they go?
A number of people, including some of the Senator’s supporters and even writer Matt Walsh, have attacked Trump supporters in a condescending manner. Why? Because they support Donald Trump.
Will these attacks attract the candidates’ supporters come that exodus day? Probably not. So instead of slamming people who are just genuinely outraged with the system, we all should be asking ourselves what it is about Trump that people like.
There is a reason why Ted Cruz won’t attack Trump. He knows there is common ground with the Trump supporters and he doesn’t want to alienate them. Politics is a numbers game and it has an element of strategy. Senator Paul apparently doesn’t get that, and it’s a bad day when Ted Cruz is ahead of you on something.
Senator Paul needs to refocus and probably show a couple bad advisors the door. While having a campaign short of Jesse Benton and his team of crooked cronies was a good start, it’s clearly not enough. Someone is bringing bad advice to the table.
America needs a true liberty candidate who can make inroads without compromising, and be different instead of a passenger on a bandwagon. One who can not contradict himself and follow the crowd, as opposed to standing above and apart of the mob.
It’s still early, Senator Paul. Take note.