In what has come as a shock to many, the media has reported that Ron Paul has quit the race for the Republican nomination. Like so much of what gets reported in the media – from Saddam’s WMDs to the necessity of a big bank bailout – the headlines being reported aren’t entirely accurate. What Paul is doing is the opposite of dropping out. He’s doubling down on a successful strategy. In a note to his supporters today, Paul stated:
“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.”
That hardly sounds like dropping out. In state convention after state convention around this country, there are only two groups of supporters left – Ron Paul supporters or Mitt Romney supporters. There are others who are currently undecided, but every other campaign has effectively let its supporters go. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Ron Paul’s campaign. They seem to be dedicated to an aggressive delegate strategy ahead.
An unnamed source within the Paul campaign said, “We already expect to control 6 state delegations and may control 15 by Tampa.”
If all goes according to plan, Paul is going to show up at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on August 27 primed to take care of business, primed to be there as the alternate to Wall Street insider and GOP establishment candidate Mitt Romney. With some 40 years spent in the political wilderness, first entering into politics when Richard Nixon closed the gold window in – Paul is no stranger to adversity in his fight against the establishment. He’s often been the lone no vote on the floor of the House. In 1988, he felt so strongly about standing against the establishment candidate that he even ran against George H.W. Bush for president.
This year, Republicans delegates have a choice – will they choose more of the same, or will they choose Ron Paul and ultimately draw a clear distinction between the Republican candidate and President Obama?
Paul has been pursuing a delegate strategy, similar to that used successfully by Barack Obama four years ago. Since it is the delegates who choose the nominee, focusing on the delegates has a high potential for return against a better funded candidate with greater name recognition. Obama realized that four years ago in his fight against Hillary Clinton, and Paul realizes that in his fight against Mitt Romney. Today’s announcement amounts to Paul simply putting greater emphasis on that delegate strategy.
“Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted,” said Paul earlier today.
What is surprising about this announcement is that Paul is publicly showing all of his cards, something not often done in politics. He’s essentially saying, “The popular vote does not matter to my campaign, winning the hearts of the delegates is what matters. We’re doubling down.”
It worked for Barack Obama in 2008, when as late as May of that year he was still being referred to by Hillary Clinton allies in the media as “unelectable.” Will it work for Paul this time around? The chance for success remains largely in the hands of his supporters. Will they step forward in larger numbers, effectively doubling down on the strategy that Paul is very publicly doubling down on?