Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) garnered approximately 47% of youth voters in Tuesday's New Hampshire GOP primaries, but millennials are not the only demographic displaying their political support for the candidate. Voters associated with the military have offered Paul more donations than any other candidate, with the latest figure lurking around $95,567 in donations stemming from individuals with military-related backgrounds, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
President Barack Obama follows at $72,616 in funding from military-related individuals, while none of the GOP candidates even come close to these figures. Paul’s anti-war and anti-intervention policies look to be a likely factor among many psychologically-fatigued active soldiers and veterans after two costly wars.
Although Paul and his supporters’ somewhat extremist views, particularly in regard to his isolationist foreign policy and the elimination of the Federal Reserve, among others, have been criticized for their inability to transform into practical policy objectives, they are crafted to garner attention. In a clever display of timeliness a la Wendy Brown, Paul’s is an attempt to provide Americans with the opportunity to question our economic, social, and international policies.
To assert that Paul is the most favored GOP candidate among members of the military based on their monetary donations would be rash, since the amounts are relatively low and could not mathematically represent a majority. What is significant, however, is that many members of the armed forces are taking advantage of the opportunity to express their views, as Paul embraces the role of the candidate who offers the fastest timeline for bringing our troops home from foreign lands, including Afghanistan.
Although most mainstream outlets write off the Texas congressman as less than competitive against Mitt Romney, who leads on the basis of electability, I am excited to see him mount generous support from independents, whose numbers peaked at 40% of Americans in 2011. Although Paul has made it clear that he does not intend to run as a third party candidate, contributing to a greater diversity of views is refreshing for the public, especially among the nation’s youth, as recently displayed by the force of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The philosophical debates he inspires are helping to ensure proper oiling of our democratic machine, and shedding light on constrictive partisan politics.
I am not an advocate for Paul’s libertarian ideology, which includes his concerning views regarding tax policies, regulation, health care, and foreign aid. Yet, as we continue to struggle to find a way out of the economic crisis, Paul encourages the American public to fearlessly broach subjects, debate and question policies in a manner that is beneficial and welcomed. Paul stressed that he is the military’s favored candidate on Wednesday night at a rally in West Columbia, S.C. Although the state boasts high numbers of military voters, recent poll numbers reported by Time/CNN predict Paul to follow in fourth place after Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich.
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