Only Ron Paul Can Beat Obama
By James Ostrowski*
December 14, 2011
A remarkable thing happened two weekends ago. Ron Paul was catapulted into the status of “serious contender for the nomination” by two events. Herman Cain, his main competition for tea party support, dropped out of the race. That pushed Ron Paul into third place in the poll of polls, RealClearPolitics.com. The next day, Ron Paul’s best poll performance ever was released by the Des Moines Register. In the Iowa poll, Ron Paul placed second behind Gingrich and in front of Romney for the first time.
Ron Paul has thus become a serious contender in spite of media coverage that has generally dismissed his chances of winning the nomination. That is significant because many voters have adopted the “horse race” theory of voting. According to this (absurd) theory, one should vote, not for what one wants but for the candidate who has the best chance of winning. Thus, we can expect Ron Paul’s poll numbers to rise even further simply because it is now evident that he can win the nomination. He should now pick up the “I like Ron but he can’t win the nomination” vote.
Nevertheless, there remains the widespread perception, expressed by the media, that Ron Paul cannot get elected President. Rarely does anyone offer an actual argument for this proposition. It is merely repeated in the apparent belief that it is self-evident (which it is not) or that it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I would like to defend the extreme opposite view. Not only can Ron Paul be elected President but he is the only Republican who can be elected. Thus, it is my hope to persuade those voters whose main concern is defeating Obama to jump on board the Ron Paul bandwagon.
Many Republicans believe Obama can be defeated easily. I suspect they rely on the anecdotal evidence of their own favored media and their circle of family, friends and acquaintances who also tend to dislike Obama. Needless to say, your friends are not a scientific sample. Let’s look at the facts.
Obama is the incumbent president with all the advantages that implies. Incumbents rarely lose re-election and when they do there is often a third party splitting the vote. Obama is an extremely good campaigner who won 53 percent of the vote in 2008 and an Electoral College landslide, 365-173. Granted, he had an uninspiring moderate GOP opponent who was unappealing to libertarians; but my thesis is that Romney or Gingrich would also constitute an uninspiring moderate with no appeal to libertarians. Republicans frequently lose when their candidate is a moderate, establishment-type candidate such as Romney. Examples include: Nixon in 1960; Ford in 1976; Bush in 1992 and McCain in 2008. They have won four times with a candidate who appeared to favor smaller government, Reagan (1980 and 1984) and Bush II (2000 and 2004). “Newt Romney,” as Michelle Bachmann dubbed them last week, are clearly uninspiring moderates with no appeal to libertarians.
Obama will be extremely well-funded and will have the support of what Limbaugh aptly calls the “state-controlled media.” It’s true that Obama won several states that have traditionally voted Republican in national elections such as Virginia, Nevada and North Carolina. However, the demographics of those states have changed. They are no longer GOP strongholds.
American presidential elections are choices among a very small number of serious candidates, usually two. They are not comparisons of one candidate against an ideal candidate. Would Obama win against the perfect Republican candidate? No, but Mr. Perfect won’t be on the ballot. If not Ron Paul, the opponent will likely be Gingrich or Romney. Both candidates have grave flaws that will be exploited by Obama. Both are flip floppers and opportunists. Gingrich is the more energetic of the two and the better debater but those assets are canceled out by a long list of well-known negatives.
As of December 14th, Obama loses to a generic Republican 44.3-42.8. However, he beats Romney 46 to 45.1 and smashes Gingrich 49.3 to 41.9 (RealClearPolitics.com). Obama does not have a significant lead over Romney. However, due to his incumbency, his vast treasury, his superior debating skills, and Romney’s own weaknesses as outlined above, Obama is heavily favored to beat Romney one-on-one. Moreover―and this is critical―Romney will not be one-on-one with Obama. There will be a significant libertarian third party candidate next year. We don’t know yet whom that candidate will be. It could be Ron Paul. It could be Gary Johnson and it could be someone else. Granted, the Libertarian Party is rarely a factor in elections and usually draws less than one percent of the vote. This year will be different. This year, there is a very high probability that a major figure will jump in to provide an alternative to the GOP if they field yet another moderate establishment loser.
The Liberty Movement has gone from being a gleam in Murray Rothbard’s eye in the 1960s to a major political movement that now encompasses roughly ten percent of the voting population. Having geared up in 2007-8 and again in 2011-12 to elect its champion, Ron Paul, the movement is not simply going to fold tent and accept a candidate such as Romney who is anathema to them. Its army will remain in the field and continue to fight. You can take that as a self-fulfilling prophecy if you wish. The Liberty Movement as an electoral political force will dissipate if it does not play a significant role in 2012. It will have expended five years—really forty years―of hard work for nothing.
A recent poll shows that a Ron Paul third party candidacy dooms the GOP. With 32 percent nationally, Romney might win Utah and Alaska but little else.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal
November 2-5, 2011
Mitt Romney …………………………………………………. 32
Barack Obama ……………………………………………….. 44
Ron Paul ……………………………………………………….. 18
Can Ron Paul beat Obama one-on-one? The answer can only be yes. First and foremost, he has one huge advantage no other contending Republican has. He won’t have Ron Paul running against him on a third party line! Second, as a libertarian populist, he can do to Obama what Lee wanted to do at Gettysburg: outflank the opponent from the right and left flank at the same time.
In spite of their vocal disagreement with Paul on foreign policy, conservatives will stick with him since beating Obama is their top priority. Ron Paul can appeal to the left on a myriad of issues against a warmongering President who is a tool of Wall Street: anti-war, anti-drug war, ending the Fed, civil liberties, ending corporate welfare and opting out of Socialism Security. Those on the left concerned with these issues can comfortably vote for Ron Paul based on his view of his own limited constitutional powers. He will not try to dominate Congress or the states. He will not be an imperial president.
Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate who is strong where Obama is strong. He polls best among young people, Democrats, blacks, independents and voters in the Northeast where Obama won every single state. A Ron Paul candidacy puts into play every state that Obama won narrowly in 2008 and probably more than that. These swing states hold 136 electoral votes: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina and Virginia. Ron Paul would need the McCain states (180 electoral votes) plus at least five of the eleven swing states to win. There is no reason to think that Ron Paul cannot win every McCain state against a man perceived to be the most liberal president in decades.
Polls show Ron Paul is already competitive with Obama in seven of the eleven swing states. Significantly, he is virtually tied with Obama in the two states that know him the best, Iowa and New Hampshire:
Paul v. Obama in Swing States (Source: RonPaul.com)
Poll Date Ron Paul Obama State Pollster
42% 42% Iowa NBC News/Marist
42% 44% New Hampshire NBC News/Marist
40% 46% Florida PPP
42% 46% Pennsylvania PPP
40% 48% North Carolina PPP
43% 47% Nevada PPP
40% 47% Iowa PPP
43% 46% North Carolina PPP
44% 45% Florida PPP
Contrary to popular belief, not only can Ron Paul beat Obama but he is only Republican who can. It is too early to say that he will beat Obama. However, with such a sharply divided nation, we can be assured that Ron Paul will not be blown out as many believe. It will be a close, competitive election. I believe he would win.
Neither Romney nor Gingrich can beat Obama. Each has critical deficiencies as a candidate. Each is an uninspiring establishment moderate of the John McCain type. Each is strongly disliked by libertarians and each would draw a serious third party challenge from the Liberty Movement. If your main priority is to defeat Obama, it is now time to get on board the Ron Paul Revolution and let’s begin the most important presidential race since perhaps 1800, the last time libertarians won an election that led to a major downsizing of the federal government.
*The author was Ron Paul’s election lawyer in New York State in 2008.
[This article may be republished with attribution.]
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