Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Coming to Grips with the Ron Paul Legacy...

There are many conclusions that can be reasonably drawn from yesterday's Super Tuesday presidential primaries and caucuses - John McCain's likely nomination, Mike Huckabee's spoiler effect on Mitt Romney's campaign, Hillary and Obama's impending battle of attrition that will bring the importance of "superdelegates" into the mainstream public's consciousness.

But what shouldn't be lost among these top-tier headlines is the legacy of Ron Paul. I think by now, after yesterday's results, we can finally pronounce the Ron Paul campaign effectively over, right? Before bloggers flame me (again) for such blasphemy, let's take a final look at some of these figures depicting the "Ron Paul Phenomenon"...

Digg Friends:

Ron Paul
Mike Huckabee
Mitt Romney
John McCain


Facebook Supporters:

Ron Paul
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Mike Huckabee

(No Official Facebook Supporters Page)

MySpace Friends:

Ron Paul
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Mike Huckabee


Technorati Blog Posts:

Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
John McCain
Mike Huckabee


Now compare these astonishing online metrics with the actual voting results, where Ron Paul finished with under 10% of the popular vote in most states (see state-by-state breakdown for all the candidates). Furthermore, Real Clear Politics estimates that the total number of those all-important delegates won thus far looks like this:

John McCain
Mitt Romney
Mike Huckabee
Ron Paul


For months now, this story has been truly amazing to follow, but ultimately what will be the legacy of the Ron Paul campaign? It sure won't be an electoral victory. However, years from now, people will remember this as 1) the defining moment where the Internet generation formalized its libertarian ideology, and as 2) further evidence that an extremely vocal, passionate, and highly mobilized base of supporters does not necessarily lead to a shift change in electoral outcomes.

The Ron Paul candidacy was indeed a resounding success in terms of generating an unprecedented level of grassroots support, organized almost exclusively in cyberspace and with almost no direct affiliation with the official campaign itself. For its supporters, perhaps they can take solace in that fact. Meanwhile, bloggers have just lost the topic most guaranteed to generate Diggs and page views.


At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rua Pual will be remembered more than Ron Paul and I seriously doubt anyone will look at what he did on the internet. Years to come people will remember 1.) He hired an internet marketing genius, who was able to sign up a bunch of names to his accounts. 2.) His campaign manager was a moron for spending all their marketing time on the internet.

You even talked about this nonsense of people having an absurd amount of friends in the facebook etiquette blog.

Also I spend more time on the net than other forms of media and I never heard of Ron Paul until this blog! Though I do admit I only get about 20 mins a day on average , which is pathetic.

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean Rupaul, damn I wish I could edit my comments!

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Robert J. Domanski said...

I've always found "The Ron Paul Phenomenon" to be somewhat ludicrous and have even been flamed by bloggers in for posting such blasphemies. However, by almost any metric, it's undeniable that the success of his online campaign was unprecedented - in terms of generating a buzz and grassroots support for someone dubbed a lower-tier candidate by the mainstream media. And, yes, while this did not equate to electoral success, it's still pretty astonishing that, thanks to his internet legions, Ron Paul broke numerous fundraising records over the past few months - surpassing the likes of John McCain, Rudy Guiliani, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, etc.

Just because you were unaware of it, doesn't mean it wasn't going on :-)

At 10:30 PM, Blogger BearDutch said...

I know things happen that I am unaware of :-}, I just don't feel that all his digg, facebook and myspace stats you posted is of any evidence (absurd amount of friends). Also if you look at names in the past, as recently as Ross Perot, they are quickly forgotten. Why would anyone cite them in the future when they are ignored right now. "They" refers to the media/corporations.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know things happen that I am unaware of :-} I just don't think the "friends" stat you posted are of any evidence. If you look at the past, even as recently as Ross Perot, these temp figures in politics are quickly forgotten. Why would they cite them in the future when they ignore them right now. "They" referring to media/corporations.


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