For everyone who was involved at the time, 2012 seemed like total war that wasn’t going to end peacefully for any party involved. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had carried the frontrunner status that was bestowed upon him by the mainstream media and the political elite. All along the way, Republicans reminded unruly activists that speaking your mind must be kept to a minimum, because there’s going to come a time you would have to support the former Governor, even if you didn’t like or agree with him.
Enter then-Congressman Ron Paul, who mounted an admirable challenge utilizing a caucus state-focused strategy. Whereas many other challengers were at best a curveball, the Ron Paul grassroots movement was like a knuckleball the establishment couldn’t predict. Every attempt to take a swing at the movement represented a big swing and a miss.
The Romney campaign wasn’t happy with the disruption of the coronation and began dispatching legions of lawyers to state conventions. When this didn’t slow down the movement, the battle went to the Republican National Committee.
Four years later, being against anything that remotely resembles the establishment is the big trend. At different points during the long primary, various establishment favorites rose and fell as they were left in the dust by Donald Trump. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the heir to the successful family throne, failed to gain traction and couldn’t even get his supporters to clap, let alone turnout. After this point, the unity man was supposed to be United States Senator Marco Rubio, an articulate warmonger from Florida who desperately wanted to dispel with the fiction that President Barack Obama didn’t know what he was doing.
Now Bush is on the outside looking in, defeated and humiliated. Senator Rubio is apologizing to a man he once made hand size jokes about and begging for forgiveness privately. Priebus and the R.N.C. is accepting the uncomfortable position the party is in.
The Republican nominee will be a bombastic and unpredictable businessman by the name of Donald Trump. The inevitability of a Trump nomination has left the entire party in a state of confusion. Do we support the nominee? Do we go third party? What’s the Libertarian Party up to?
The winner of the chaotic situation? A disrespected movement and the man who sparked it, Ron Paul.
Trump is arguably not a liberty candidate. He’s embraced a number of positions that are contrary to what libertarians stand for, and Paul himself refuses to support him. But the ascension of Trump is the result of a party that refused to allow competitive primaries. When a clear frontrunner arrives, it’s time for the remaining states to do their part and just make it inevitable.
Rule 40b, passed in August of 2012, was designed to unite around Romney and stop establishment favorites from being humiliated by long primaries in the future. Who would’ve ever thought that the next election cycle would result in what nobody ever wanted happening?
Another victory for Paul is the embrace for third parties. While moderate and establishment Republicans will not be embracing liberty candidates, this represents a massive departure from even four years ago, when going third party and encouraging independents was considered evil.
The Republican National Committee, joined by the party elite, complicated the entire 2016 election for themselves. In attempting to stop Ron Paul from becoming the Republican nominee or even have a presence at the National Convention in 2012, they sealed the deal for Donald Trump in 2016. As a result, those who typically stand with the party brand regardless of who the standard bearer is, have defected in a desperate search for a third party alternative.
As much as they didn’t agree with or like him, wouldn’t it be better to be stuck with someone like Ron Paul instead of Donald Trump? Think before you burn people, Republicans.