In a party that tends to be old and white, Ron Paul and his views are attracting demographic groups that are not traditionally affiliated with the Republican Party – youth, minorities, civil libertarians, the apolitical, those who are traditionally non-voters, and even Democrats.
On May 6, Nevada Republicans announced that 22 Paul supporters were chosen to fill 25 spaces for the Republican National Convention. Recent analysis shows that of those delegates were two female delegates who identify as Hispanic and one black delegate.
One Paul supporter said about Sunday's results: "A common critique of small-minded opponents on the left is that Paul is racist. He's exactly the opposite – he sees everyone as an individual, the guy doesn't give a damn about what 'group' we are a part of. He represents a belief in the importance of the individual – something the Republican Party used to represent."
While Paul speaks an old message, one of freedom, it still resonates with people of all ages and is clearly attracting a new kind of energy to the stodgy, pro-establishment Republican Party.
One of the recently-elected delegates to the Republican National Convention, Wiselet Rouzard, who identifies as African American, commented, "The 15% minority delegation being sent to Tampa to represent Ron Paul is not a surprise but rather reassuring of what the movement is about."
While some on the left claim the Tenth Amendment insistence of states’ rights and constitutional calls for individual liberties are a veil for racism, Rouzard has a very different perspective: “It's a movement and revolution that defends civil liberties and equality for all ‘Individuals’ regardless of your skin color, religion, health, wealth, creed. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate that truly stands and abides by the Constitution and does what he says."
Going even further in his displeasure with politicians playing the race card, Rouzard commented on how politicians who cater to specific groups of people tend to do more harm than good. Ultimately, these politicians end up being divisive and undermining the personal liberty of all in our society.
Said Rouzard: "Ron Paul and the Constitution have always understood that blacks, Hispanics, Native-Americans, Christians, the poor, are not the minority in a growing tyrannical government; the Individual has and always will be the minority. All the other candidates look to cater or promise to other sub groups and dismiss the Individual. [This] has continued to divide America."
Rouzard compared Paul's protection of the individual to Dr. King's: "As Martin Luther King, Jr., said of an America where children ‘will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’ and Ron Paul's character is the embodiment of our founding fathers and what this great nation is all about, Freedom and Equality."
Recent analysis done by Hamdan Azhar, a political analyst and former Columbia University researcher, shows Paul supporters as a youthful and rising demographic across the U.S. and a dominant force in an aging Republican Party.
Sadly, not all members of the Republican Party are as welcoming as Paul and his supporters. On Sunday at the Nevada Republican Convention, an attempt by a Republican delegate to open debate on attracting conservative Hispanic voters to the GOP was loudly booed down by a vocal few members of the old guard before ultimately being voted down. Admittedly, the issue could have been better presented, but an ugly segment of the GOP reared its head in a gesture that offered a reminder of how unwelcoming the GOP insiders seek to be.
The message of liberty inspires regardless of age or race. As unwelcoming as some in the GOP can be, 2012 seems to be demonstrating that the GOP old guard is incapable of preventing newcomers from using the Republican Party to make America a freer place.