In 2016, politics seemed off by most people’s standards. Generally, election cycles start with crowded primaries, thinning down after the Republican and Democratic primary races. At that point, the most moderate candidate in each party sporting the biggest war chest and nicest speech pulls ahead in the race. In the end, manufactured politicians always reign victorious.
For libertarians, this wasn’t going to be the case. Even though former Texas Congressman Ron Paul fell short in his hard-fought battle in 2012, the momentum was destined to steamroll through until 2016. This was the year that the liberty movement stormed the political establishment and turned Washington D.C. upside down.
For libertarians, we were going to be just days away from the inauguration of President-elect Rand Paul.
Unfortunately for many conservatives and libertarians, history was written differently. Not only did the United States Senator from Kentucky lose the Republican presidential primary, he also lost after a miserable first showing. For all the hype behind the next Paul liberty politician, he fell quite short. Many were left feeling defeated due to the loss. For days, libertarians remained lost. During the months ahead, the presidential election became an agonizing battle over the course going forward. While many great down ballot candidates ran, libertarians bitterly battled over who to support for president.
Regardless of whether one voted for President-elect Donald Trump, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, or wrote-in Senator Paul anyway, it wasn’t going to be Paul winning in the end.
Given all of this however, the senator from Kentucky ended up winning bigger than we knew at the time.
In his time spent in the upper chamber, Paul has established a very different political reputation from his father’s. Whereas the elder stuck to his guns and never made many friends, senator Paul has become a negotiator and deal-maker. The coalition builder has introduced legislation and built alliances alongside some of the most unlikely partners.
Sometimes, his approach backfires, upsetting his followers. Other times, it cements his political standing as a rising star. We’re seeing now that even after a difficult blow in the presidential primary, Paul hasn’t lost any of his clout.
Obamacare is the top target of the new Republican majorities and a large reason why they made the gains they did. On this point, it would be unwise to stand against any effort to repeal the top accomplishment of outgoing President Barack Obama.
Senator Paul has done just that. He has made two issues that don’t seem to be registering with many Republicans very clear . While many elected Republicans seem to be eager for a quick political point, he is weighing the long term. First, there needs to be some sort of replacement plan to stabilize a transitioning market. While most libertarians agree the best replacement is the free market, cutting cold turkey might launch the industry into chaos.
Second, everything needs to balance out.
Like it was for his father, fiscal responsibility is important to the senator. Both father and son are known for returning funds from their office’s operating budget back to the Treasury, cementing their own reputations of being genuine fiscal conservatives.
Has this stance ever backfired on the senator? Quite the contrary.
While President-elect Trump has established himself and his new inner circle as the top of the Republican Party, Senator Paul took his stand with the support of his former rival. Instead of being attacked by constituents and being blacklisted in his own party, he is gaining favor.
Now the Kentucky senator has announced his own alternative legislation to rid the country of Obamacare.
While this is just one moment out of many in the constantly moving political world, it’s surely a preview of things to come. Senator Paul has walked out of a difficult year virtually unscathed. His political standing if anything has been cemented, as now he’s even making inroads with the former rival he once vowed to stop.
He may not be the president next week, but Paul will remain a winner in the end.