Why Republicans Will Nominate Rand Paul in 2016

Martin LongmanOver the weekend, Martin Longman (AKA: the handcuffed frog blogger) made an interesting observation, Why Presidential Horserace Pieces are Boring. I think what he really meant is that horse race pieces are stupid. And his reasoning is interesting: regardless of who the Republicans nominate, they will lose. I don’t agree with that logic. I’m a fundamentals kind of guy, and I think that as bad a candidate as Newt Gingrich could be elected president in 2016 if the economy crumbles in the months leading up to the election.

But I’m in agreement with Longman: I’m not very interested in presidential horse race articles. And that’s why I’m going to write one. Because I think I know who the Republicans are going to nominate for president in 2016: Rand Paul. But don’t worry, I haven’t lost all sense. I certainly don’t think that he will get the nomination because the Republicans have turned libertarian. Instead, he will get the nomination because he claims to be a libertarian without actually acting like it.

Rand PaulA big part of this is the fascination that Republicans have for the libertarian brand. And everyone knows that Rand Paul is a libertarian—whatever that might mean. When I was a libertarian, I hated what I saw as pretenders like Rand Paul. As it was, I didn’t vote for his father when he ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, and his father is a hell of a lot closer to an actual libertarian than Rand is. His reputation is based on his isolationist foreign policy ideas, lukewarm support of LGBT rights, and his kinda sorta support of cannabis legalization.

The problem for Rand Paul is that the things that make him the new poster boy of libertarianism are things that the base of the Republican Party hates. But this is a minor problem for Paul. As each day goes by, we find him pushing himself further and further away from any libertarian positions into a nice comfortable conservative place. So by this time next year, he will have massaged every position so that it still sounds libertarian, while still being full of conservative red meat for the base.

For the Republican voter, Rand Paul will be the ultimate candidate. He will have the official George Washington seal of approval without having to take on any of the actual ideas of the first president or any of the other founders of the nation. This is what the Tea Party is all about and they will vote for Rand Paul as long as he doesn’t keep saying things that upset their sense of American exceptionalism. It will be perfect: conservative elitism in the clothes of libertarian idealism.

A lot of people seem to think that Paul will have problems with things he’s said in the past. But as we’ve seen over and over, Paul has no problem just ignoring the past or claiming that he misspoke in the past. All politicians try to do that, of course. But the Republican base seems awfully forgiving about this. Just look at the transformation that Mitt Romney went through. The problem with Rand Paul’s father was always that he was too wedded to his ideology. The son learned not to do that from his father’s failure to inspire the Republican Party. So Rand Paul very clearly doesn’t believe in anything other than that he ought to be president. And I think that will see him through to the nomination.

Let us hope to God that he doesn’t win the general election.


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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

8 thoughts on “Why Republicans Will Nominate Rand Paul in 2016

  1. I do not believe Rand Paul can get the nomination by running as the Rand Paul we have today. The base, who had to “hold their nose” whilst voting for George W Bush because he talked about “compassionate” conservatism, wants the real deal. The only way he is going to Libertarian dance his way into the nomination is by being twice the sociopath Paul Ryan is and heavily salt the bomb casing with dominionism. The chamber of commerce wing either finds a way to strongarm the base, and it would have to be a very desperate measure at this stage, or conclude that HRC is a foregone conclusion and let a wingnut dream ticket like Cruz/Santorum immolate itself. They won’t willingly do the latter because a wave election would hand the Democrats the House and Senate, while also giving “real conservatism” a public beatdown. Of course we are talking about an HRC administration, which will likely have Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren doing the heavy lifting for liberalism while the POTUS worries about the fee fees of Jamie Dimon et all. I assume a one term HRC administration will be a two term administration. The last guy to fail that conversion play was disliked by both parties and faced the strongest third party candidacy in decades. Which means that much of the activist republican base will be dead in 2024. Certainly redistricting will be a done deal by then. I believe this makes 2016 a very important election cycle. (Not that 2014 isn’t. They all are.) One would hope that would we could start squeezing the Confederates out of power by then. One thing is certain: the next time Democrats have the opportunity they have to deliver economic relief and social justice to their base before the midterms. (Yes I am aware that the Al Franken recount and the Martha Coakley debacle left Democrats very little time to actually advance their agenda.)

    • What you are saying about Rand Paul is perfectly consistent with what I’m saying. He is very quickly getting rid of his various conservative apostasies–especially on foreign affairs. I think by the middle of next year, he will be a LINO. (Not that he isn’t already as far as I’m concerned.)

      My take on Bush 41 in 1992 is the same as it always is, “It’s the economy, stupid!” I know that Republicans like to claim that Bush lost the election because of his breaking his “read my lips” promise, but the fact is that he was going to lose regardless. I have a simple model of presidential elections that looks at the trend of the unemployment rate in the 10 months leading up to the election. And that year, unemployment was increasing. The election was Clinton’s the lose, and he didn’t because he kept the campaign focused on the economy.

      I expect that the economy will still be improving in 2016 (because the Republicans have been so effective at keeping the economy struggling), and so HRC will win. But in 2020, we’ll have to see. The demographics will be better for Democrats. But a lot could happen.

  2. This author of this piece is correct in that Rand will win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. What the author seems clueless on as to WHY he will win it.

    • I’m sure people who want objective information about the 2016 presidential nomination will go to the “Wisconsin Republicans for Rand Paul”–a website so exciting it hasn’t posted anything in over three months!

      And “James Madison” as a name? Really? You do realize that is a sign of disrespect. I don’t go around calling myself Thomas Paine, even though he is a great hero to me.

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