Rand Paul Could Shake Up An Election Against Hillary Clinton

Senators Gather To Caucus Over Hagel Nomination

While Ron Paul had a small devoted group of supporters, everyone knew he had no real chance of seriously competing for the Republican nomination. There’s something about being a new face, and being from the Senate instead of the House. People are looking far more seriously at the possibility of Rand Paul becoming the Republican nominee.

Not that long ago, most Republican leaders saw Rand Paul as the head of an important faction who, like his father, ultimately had no shot at becoming the party’s presidential nominee.

Now the question is no longer whether Paul can win the nomination, but whether he can win a general election.

The shift follows a year in which the Kentucky senator has barnstormed the country, trying to expand the party’s base beyond older, white voters and attract a following beyond than the libertarian devotees of his father, Ron Paul. Although the job is far from complete, Paul has made undeniable progress, judging from interviews with more than 30 Republican National Committee members meeting here this week.

That he has struck a chord with this crowd is all the more telling because it is heavy with GOP establishment-types who tend to prefer mainstream candidates.

“I don’t see how anyone could say it’s not possible he’d win the nomination,” Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri said. “His mission is to convince people of what his coalition would be in November” 2016…

At the moment it doesn’t really look likely that Rand Paul could win, but they said the same about Ronald Reagan.

Many of Paul’s views remain at odds with the Republican mainstream, but he now seems less of a pariah among Republicans than Mitt Romney was in many circles. It is possible Paul could win a primary battle with the vote divided between more conventional Republican candidates. He would also benefit from the first contests being a caucus in Iowa and a primary in New Hampshire. He could conceivable wind up in first place in both and quickly turn into the front runner.

If Paul does win the nomination, Democrats might need to rethink handing the nomination to Hillary Clinton. What happens when the Republican candidate starts attacking Hillary Clinton over her support for the Iraq war, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the Patriot Act, and the drug war? Paul might also turn Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street into a serious liability. Many potential Democratic voters might find that they agree with Paul and disagree with Clinton on several issues.

Of course Rand Paul is also on the wrong side of many issues, but can we count on Clinton to take advantage of this? Republicans already have managed to put Democrats on the defensive on issues such as Medicare and health care–two issues where they have facts and principle firmly on their side.

Paul would face many obstacles. His opposition to abortion rights could limit his ability to win over female voters from the Democrats, perpetuating the gender gap between the parties. His anti-war views would be a negative in many red states, possibly even leading to upsets in some red states by a hawkish Democrat such as Clinton.

Looking at the electoral college, I don’t think Paul could win, a race between Clinton and Paul would shake up many of the current party-line divisions. I could see Paul taking some states such as New Hampshire from the Democrats, but not many with large amounts of electoral votes, with the possible exception of California. Still, with their current disadvantages in the electoral college this might be the best chance for Republicans, and a potential threat for Democrats, especially if looking at shaking up the current Democratic advantage among younger voters. I could see many young males being far more interested in Paul on the issues where he is more libertarian, while not being as concerned about issues such as preserving Medicare. This could destroy what now appears to be a long-term Democratic advantage, considering that people tend to stick with the party they chose when young. Democrats might still win the 2016 battle by running Clinton against Paul, but could suffer long term from such a match up.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

Author: Ron Chusid

  • sheknows

    “Flailing at the Clintons and insisting women won the war on women, he’s what happens when stupid goes unchallenged.
    Oh, and the man who opposed the Lilly Ledbetter pay equity act”. Salon 2014

    The Democrat voter of today long ago chalked Paul up to being a loose cannon . HIs stand on issues cannot be counted on, as his contradictions appear as suddenly as his poorly thought out attacks on his opponents.

    I have faith the Dem voter will find no kindred spirit in his ever changing philosophies of convenience, most especially the young ones.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    The issue won’t be consistent Democratic voters, but people who might vote Democratic on limited issues such as the Iraq war. People voting based upon women’s issues definitely won’t be tempted by Rand Paul considering his record.

  • sheknows

    LOL, fortunately, the Iraq war horribleness ( a word?) has already been assigned to GWB. I think that’s how most Dems will look at it. :)

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Again I’m not speaking of devoted Democrats. Things could change if the Republican is the anti-war candidate and the Democrats run someone as hawkish as Clinton (again among people voting more on foreign policy than women’s issues and the many other issues which Democrats would disagree with Paul on).

    In such an election, if the consideration is which candidate is less likely to get us involved in another Iraq, Paul wins that debate over Clinton.

  • sheknows

    Had I had the edit function, I would have written it as ‘That’s how most Dem voters will look at it” In other words, I do not feel Hillary will be seen as the hawk( as you call her) in anyone’s eyes.
    How many were misled by the information provided to them? Like everyone? She has stated that had she known…she never would have voted in favor of Iraq…remember?
    An entire nation was deceived Ron. I think she can be forgiven…by most.

  • sheknows

    BTW, if it is just the pacifist vote we are concerned with here, I don’t think we need to worry. With so many other issues that Paul is to God awfully Republican about ( the poor, Medicare, SS, immigration etc.) and out of touch on in his Libertarian ( when convenient) philosophy, I believe Hillary has a pretty good shot at taking him down.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    I don’t think Paul could actually beat her, but it could lead to some interesting changes in alliances, and alter the current trend for young voters to be so heavily Democratic. Issues such as Iraq, NSA surveillance, and drone strikes could win over more young voters than most Republican candidates could. I have to disagree regarding whether Clinton is seen as the hawk. Many Democrats, while still planning to vote for her due to other issues, already consider her to be too hawkish.

  • sheknows

    I agree with you Ron, that we disagree on this issue. :)

  • The_Ohioan

    I seriously hope the Democratic National Committee is vetting other candidates in case this all blows up. The Reps will have no compunction, no matter the irony, about painting her as hawkish (which she is) or tied to Wall Street (which she is).

    The fact that their probable candidate would be the same would be much reduced with Rand Paul’s selection. Whether he can get the nomination by not having those same attributes is the question. I’m doubtful.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    In the past it was pretty much true whenever disagreeing with a Democrat on any issue (from the left) that the Republican would still be worse on the issue. Paul would shake that up on issues such as foreign policy and ties to Wall Street.

    I also doubt that he can win the nomination, but note the post is largely in response to an article claiming that Republicans are now reconsidering him. Therefore this was written based upon the consequences if we accept this premise. I also figure that while Paul could certainly not win a head to head battle with a conventional Republican, the results could be different in a divided field. In addition, the calendar helps Paul with the battle starting out in Iowa and New Hampshire.

  • sheknows

    Rand Paul on Wall Street Capitalism:
    “The other thing just infuriates me is that they blame greed,” Paul said at the rally. “Not that greed is a good thing to have. … But it is an indirect way of blaming capitalism. What is greed? Greed is an excess of self-interest, but what drives capitalism? Self-interest and profit. They are good things.”
    Duh Huh????

    “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) made a fool out of himself during a nationally televised public hearing when he asked Hillary Clinton about a covert CIA operation that was actually non-existent” . He got his information from Alex Jones as it turned out. There are dozens of stupid comments from this man, I mean stupid! and insensitive as well.

    There are so many things wrong with this guy I am stunned anyone would think he can take votes away from someone as talented and capable as Hillary. He is an idiot. ( not just my opinion)
    Aside from T_O who has made his dislike of the Clintons very clear on this site, ( no insult intended :) ) I just can’t see anyone giving Paul the time of day on ANY issue.
    BTW, her vote, like many other Dems and Reps was based on the available information of WMD ‘s. You all remember those right? Anyway, If she loses Dem votes over it…she may gain R votes in their place since Paul has no interest in supporting the Republican love of war. :)

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Well, that sure clinches the Gordon Gekko vote for him :)

    There sure would be a lot of dumb quotes to throw against Paul in a presidential election.

    Regardless of how many people like or dislike Clinton on this site, I find objections to Clinton based upon her being too hawkish and too close to Wall Street to be fairly common on the left–even if such people would still vote for her over Paul.

    And yes, the possibility of Republicans voting for Clinton due to being more hawkish is yet another way a Clinton vs. Paul election could really shake up previous partisan divides.

  • sheknows

    “Well, that sure clinches the Gordon Gekko vote for him :) LOL

    Based on that one Benghazi hearing where he brought up imaginary things, all I can say is…..bring it on. A laugh riot of intrigue and stupidity presented by the very best the GOP has to offer.
    But wait….there are even more comical choices. :)

  • Momzworld

    http://www.yidio.com/movie/hac.....Ogod7ywAqA

    The above is a link to a documentary movie made in 2006, I believe, that addresses the voting machines and the problematic counts and recounts in the 2004 election. The name of the movie is Hacking Democracy.

    Because some of you on TMV are IT people and others here are much more politically astute than I, my question is: How can we be sure that our votes are counted as we submitted them given the issues raised in this documentary?

    Rand Paul may be gaining ground, and there is the electoral college to consider — all the things we’ve always acknowledged as part of the process. But if the machines can be tampered with or even the manufacturers and writers of the code that counts votes can be manipulated at the behest of big money with a political agenda . . . . . .

    How do we know if our vote counts for anything?

  • sheknows

    Great question momzworld. I have wondered that myself, and still believe it is not an honest measurement. I will leave that up to the more knowledgeable among us here to field that one. To me, I guess the answer is….you don’t know.

  • Momzworld

    I’ve lived in Florida for 46 years, and I was here when the state became the laughing stock of the country over the infamous “hanging chads” and the court decision that ultimately decided that election in George W Bush’s favor. When Rick Scott won the governorship of Florida in the last election, there were many who believed there was sculduggery at work there in much the same way that Gore felt that he lost the election to fraud. Since this movie addresses the 2004 election — with another focus on a Florida county — what in the world is going on? If it’s that easy to mess with the vote count, then polls and votes and campaigning seem pretty meaningless!

  • JSpencer

    Of course Rand Paul is also on the wrong side of many issues, but can we count on Clinton to take advantage of this?

    Why on earth wouldn’t she? In many ways Rand Paul is the dream opposition.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Because of the poor track record of the Democrats on issues where they should have the advantage as I noted in the post.

  • JIM SATTERFIELD

    Young people might like Rand Paul’s stances on the NSA and similar issues but they don’t care for the associations he has with racism, his stand that the way to avoid issues with gay marriage is to avoid it by eliminating anything in government that refers to it or to just leave it to the states or his stance on anti-discrimination legislation. His support of Guantanamo isn’t going to earn him many friends in that demographic, either. More information on his political positions here.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Ron Paul had a lot of rabid supporters who found ways to overlook and ignore how conservative he was on social issues, and they were in denial about his racism (which was more overt than with Rand). It remains to be seen how many people who like some of his positions will overlook his other positions.

    Imagine if the Republicans had a candidate who was opposed to actions such as the Iraq War and NSA surveillance, strong on civil liberties, and didn’t have all the other baggage of the right wing. Of course imagining Republican candidates without all their current baggage would leave us in a completely different world from the one we live in. I haven’t heard a rational Republican run since Arnold Vinick and he was fictitious (on The West Wing).

  • roro80

    It’s an interesting thesis, but I think exactly the opposite would happen if the Libertarian Boy Wonder won the GOP nomination. I think you’d have large enough swaths of GOP members with low enthusiasm for an anti-war, drugs-are-ok candidate. Squawking about how the national testicles are tied directly to blowing up the brown people has been a major GOP party platform plank for decades now, and has only gotten stronger since the Bush Doctrine — no way that some pansy-assed peacenik is going to get the GOP vote. And what in world would the GOP do if they didn’t have the Drug War to implement Jim Crow racism? I mean, you might have black people voting, getting educations, living securely in safer neighborhoods — we can’t have that.

    On the other hand, Hilary is the presumptive nominee because she’s hugely popular. Yes, she’s always been a bit on the hawkish side, and of course the left-leaning population is rightfully upset over a number of issues brought up in this piece that the Dems haven’t been good on. But the population knows about these issues going in, and frankly, Rand Paul is so horribly awful on a lot of super basic liberal issues — abortion, racism, social safety net, unions — that I don’t think there’s a sizable portion of people who would deflect from the Dem side for Paul.

    If he were a “true” libertarian, instead of whatever Randian evangelical hybrid he is, he might split a bit off. As is, I’m not buying it.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    There would definitely be Republicans who would have qualms about voting for him on foreign policy (as there would be Democrats regarding Clinton) but it is hard to say how many Republican votes he would lose. After all, he was elected to the Senate from red state.

  • slamfu

    Rand Paul is a libertarian. Libertarians wither under a national spotlight like lettuce under a heat lamp. He would get crushed by Hillary. They can only win in small enclaves of people.

  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Does Kentucky constitute a small enclave?

    Sure, he would probably be crushed by Clinton, but what likely Republican candidate wouldn’t face the same fate?

  • slamfu

    Nah, 4.5 million is a decent sized state. But Kentucky is weird, half the state is on welfare and they still vote GOP. I just think it would be a massacre watching him trying to match his Libertarian fantasy land against Hillary Clinton in a live debate.

  • slamfu
  • http://www.liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    Many of them also love their state run exchange to obtain insurance, but they hate Obamacare.