February 5, 2008

An Inside Look at Ron Paul, Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

This three-part series about GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul is based on a UWire conference call he recently participated in with colleges and universities across the nation. The original audio of the conference call can be found here. Additionally, the audio podcast of this article, downloadable here and also playable at the bottom of this article, will contain the audio from the conference call wherever Paul is quoted.

Looking Forward: Advantages, Challenges and Momentum

Ron Paul has run for President before in 1988 as a Libertarian, and his views have hardly shifted since then, but his level of support has increased dramatically in this second run. Twenty years later, Paul has certainly benefited from the invention of the Internet. His presence on there is unmatched, and the Internet has allowed his message to spread quickly across the country. Beyond the online realm, Paul has experienced some major boosts in terms of real money and real people, too. “We’ve broken all kinds of records, we’ve raised $6 million in one day, and yesterday we had over 5,000 new people joining us,” said Paul. Paul has even managed to take second place in the GOP Nevada caucuses. With these accomplishments in hand, and also with a strong showing from young voters, Paul plans to stage a larger performance on Super Tuesday.

But despite his success, Paul has still run into numerous problems when the stakes grow larger. While he did well in Nevada, he admits he will need more to win the bigger contests. “It’s not the breakthrough that you need to be winning in some of these big states,” Paul points out. Also, he often exhibits some sentiment that the mainstream media does not give him enough press; he feels like this can hinder the spread of his message. “If you had complete support from the mainstream media, you would get a lot more national attention.” Paul’s campaign still faces a lot of challenges, and sometimes these challenges catch up to him. “Sometime I don’t even have a choice,” Paul said, “I put my name out there reluctantly not believing that there would be very many young people or very much money.” For all that Paul has accomplished, he still has to accomplish much more to win it all.

Because of these difficulties, many believe that Ron Paul should abandon his bid for the White House. Paul still refuses to do this, citing one major factor: momentum. So long as the momentum remains in Paul’s eyes, he vows to carry on. “If I started something, I can’t drop out when the momentum is so great. Because we don’t come in first or second doesn’t mean the momentum isn’t building,” Paul said. Here he cites the example of Giuliani, who started the race as the national frontrunner but dropped out after finishing third in Florida, a state which Giuliani bet his hopes on. Paul had actually gained more delegates than Giuliani before the former New York mayor dropped out, and Paul hopes to pick up a few more delegates here and there, continuing to build his momentum.

That is not to say that he still does not show reluctance at times. However, from his youngest supporters, Paul finds a spirit of determination that inspires him to keep going. “And the young people have actually given me a lot of encouragement, because I was, you know, reluctant, but because of this interest and this intense interest…there’s every reason for me and others to be more optimistic today than we were one year ago,” Paul said. For now, this interest has appeared to keep Paul’s candidacy alive while some of his competitors have faltered. While the odds still look bleak, and questions remain about whether or not Paul can gain enough momentum, he will still carry on, continuing to defend the principles of the Constitution and hoping for the best.

“All I can do is continue to do what I’m doing.”

Mike Wacker is The Sun’s Assistant Web Editor. He can be reached at mwacker@cornellsun.com.