Ron Paul, despite collecting only 14 delegates, remains in the GOP race despite the fact his only rival, John McCain, clinched the Republican nomination with victories in Ohio and Texas in March.
Nonetheless, he is actively campaigned in Pennsylvania, running radio ads and holding a few rallies on college campuses. He has vowed to stay in the race until his party’s convention is September.
“It’s not over,” Dr. Paul told a 2,000-plus crowd at a rally held at Penn State University earlier in the month. “Pennsylvanians still have a choice.”
“Right now the impact Ron Paul is having on this race is through his supporters,” explained Michael Erickson, chairman of Republicans for the National Interest. “His supporters are turning their attention to state parties, as well as county central committees, in the hope of changing the Republican Party internally.”
Mr. Erickson noted Dr. Paul’s supporters are “taking the long view,” in that they recognized an election is only part of the ideological equation and the winner will not be determined by this year’s nominee but by those who is able to answer the question “What does it mean to be a Republican?”
“Dr. Paul faced insurmountable odds, but his followers are large and organized; they understand their future is taking over the GOP from within,” Mr. Erickson stated. Mr. Erickson explained the ability to turn a short term defeat into a long term victory is commonplace among conservative Republicans, as supporters of Barry Goldwater, who was crushed by Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential election, adopted a similar plan to win control of the party and eventually paved the way for Ronald Reagan.
Recently, Dr. Paul’s supporters have experienced success in winning key positions inside various state Republican parties, specifically Alaska and Missouri, and Mr. Erickson further explained Dr. Paul is poised to have the same success in California.
But while Dr. Paul’s supporters look toward the future, Mr. Erickson warns that an eye must be kept on the present.
“The extent to which Dr. Paul’s supporters can form an alliance with Christian conservatives to keep the platform conservative is key,” Mr. Erickson stated. “The alternative would be a platform devoid of conservative principles.”
Joe Murray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.