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The Ron Paul Effect: How the GOP Threw the Election By Disenfranchising Ron Paul Supporters

By disenfranchising Ron Paul supporters, Mitt Romney won the primary but lost the election. 

New analysis reveals that in no less than five states, Romney’s margin of loss to President Obama in the general election was less than the number of votes received by Ron Paul in that state’s primary.

State

Obama Votes

Romney Votes

Romney Loss Margin

Paul Primary Votes

Electoral Votes

Connecticut

128,251

120,637

7,614

8,032

7

Florida

4,141,618

4,094,952

46,666

117,461

29

New Hampshire

366,089

325,668

40,421

56,872

4

Ohio

2,691,861

2,584,620

107,241

113,256

18

Virginia

1,868,191

1,767,692

100,499

107,451

13

In Florida, for example, Obama defeated Romney by 46,000 votes; meanwhile, Ron Paul received over 117,000 votes in the primary. If only 40% of these Ron Paul Republicans stayed home on Election Day, it would have been enough to cost Romney the state and its 29 electoral votes.

A similar case can be made for Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. Along with Florida, these five states account for a whopping 71 Electoral College votes. Remember that Obama earned 332 electoral votes compared to Romney’s 206. Had Romney won these five states, they would have been sufficient to give him a narrow 277-261 victory over the President.

Admittedly, the number of Paul votes and Romney’s loss margin are closer in the other four states than they are in Florida. In New Hampshire, 71% of Paul votes are needed to make up the margin, while in Ohio and Virginia, that number is closer to 95%.  

The picture becomes clearer, however, when we remember that the number of Paul primary votes is almost certainly an underestimate of the number of Paul supporters in a given state.  Given the reluctance of many socially liberal, fiscally conservative Ron Paul supporters to participate in a Republican primary, analysts have estimated a multiplier of at least threefold in closed primary states.

What does this mean? Given two conservative assumptions – that the number of Paul supporters in these five states is at least double the number of Paul primary votes, and that 40% of these Paul voters stayed home on Election Day – we have a strong case for stating that Mitt Romney would have won the election had he earned the votes of these Ron Paul supporters.

When Ron Paul went to the Republican National Convention in August, he brought with him the youngest delegation in the history of the Republican Party.

How were they welcomed? When they arrived, their signs were confiscated and torn up before their eyes. The Maine delegation was summarily unseated and sent home because they contained too many Paul supporters. At the last minute, the Rules Committee changed the ballot access requirement from five states to eight states to prevent Ron Paul’s name from being entered into nomination. They even prevented his name from being mentioned from the podium!

The establishment’s abominable treatment of Ron Paul supporters at the RNC was only the culmination of a corrupt and shameful primary season. In Louisiana, Ron Paul delegates were arrested when it became clear that they were in the majority at the state convention. In Arizona, desperate party bosses turned off the lights at the state convention to prevent Ron Paul supporters from being elected to a party position. In both Maine and Nevada, Romney campaign officials were caught distributing fake delegate slates. In Missouri, police were called to shut down the St. Charles caucus when a Ron Paul victory appeared imminent.

“It’s a shame the party hasn’t been more welcoming of these young people,” confessed a Romney delegate to me at the RNC.

In Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat at the hands of President Obama, it appears the Republican Party’s chickens may finally have come home to roost. Instead of welcoming the passion and dedication of the Ron Paul movement, the party chose to alienate an entire generation of young Republicans, scorning the sensible message of limited government and non-interventionist foreign policy.

As Republicans nationwide prepare themselves for four more years of President Obama, they would do well to ask themselves what they might have done differently. One can only wonder whether the party will learn the lessons of 2012 in time for the election of 2016. 

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