Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Return of Ron Paul Mania...

What outlet can the Ron Paul diehards find for their zealous political devotion? The presidential candidate with a cult following has long since been defeated in the nomination battle to John McCain, however his base of supporters remains defiant in throwing in the towel.

As this L.A. Times blog describes, Ron Paul supporters "hope to demonstrate their disagreements with McCain vocally at the convention through platform fights and an attempt to get Paul a prominent speaking slot". Since the nomination itself is no longer attainable, their new stated goal is to "take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals and influence platform debates".

I continue to maintain that, even with the prolonged Hillary-Obama nomination battle, the self-destruction of the Guiliani campaign, and about a dozen other novel and fascinating political developments in the past few months, the most significant story that historians will examine from this year's presidential campaign is that of the astonishing Ron Paul candidacy. By almost every internet metric, Paul has crushed every other candidate from both parties, has mobilized a grassroots base of online supporters in unprecedented fashion, and, as a result, has broken numerous fundraising records.

He also never came remotely close to winning anything.

It's extremely positive to see Ron Paul's supporters continue to engage so whole-heartedly in the political process even after their candidate's defeat. Despite my being flamed in this blog space for questioning Paul's chances of electoral success, and despite the way in which Paul's followers are often perceived as delusional, it is nevertheless great to see that these people's devotion and level of civic engagement will not flame out too easily.

Who knows, by adopting their more pragmatic strategy of influencing the party platform and enhancing their control over local committees, the "Ron Paul Revolution" may indeed leave a legacy that stretches far beyond this year's presidential campaign. And perhaps far beyond Ron Paul himself.


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