In all fields of human endeavor, winning by cheating is losing.
In a competition, when someone cheats, he gets disqualified. The disqualification does not make the runner-up the winner. Rather, it reveals that the man who appeared to be the runner-up had in fact been the winner all along.
In the race for the GOP nomination for president, therefore, Ron Paul won.
As the New York Times wrote yesterday,
Delegates from Nevada tried to nominate Mr. Paul from the floor, submitting petitions from their own state as well as Minnesota, Maine, Iowa, Oregon, Alaska and the Virgin Islands. That should have done the trick: Rules require signatures from just five states. But the party changed the rules on the spot. Henceforth, delegates must gather petitions from eight states.
When Mr. Romney and the RNC cheat so blatantly, they make the game no longer about politics: they make themselves ineligible for the vote of anyone who cares about his own morality, his own honesty or his own integrity -- regardless of his politics. And from a purely practical standpoint, they invite Americans to ask if they want to live in a nation governed with the same contempt for those who don't toe the party line as has been displayed both in Tampa and throughout the primary process.
But as a Ron Paul supporter, I can't remember feeling so invigorated and empowered in my cause.
Not only did my candidate win: the GOP has given the Liberty movement the greatest gift it could have given us. It has induced a righteous indignation that will ensure that there will be no lull in the Liberty movement post-convention or post-election. It has educated us; it has brought us together like only a common hurt can, and it has freed us to do whatever needs to be done for the cause we love, wherever we need to do it.
To those in the Liberty movement who in the first flush of anger are saying they will never vote GOP again, I would humbly suggest that there is no better revenge than success and that success, therefore, is a dish best served cold.
Ron Paul has been fighting for the cause of freedom for 30 years. Even if Romney were to win the election in November -- a possibility now massively reduced by the disenfranchisement of a large minority of Republicans who comprise its most energetic activists -- eventually he'll be just another ex-president. But the GOP's behavior has just about ensured that Liberty will never be just another ex-movement. Thanks to GOP, a hardened, indignant and wiser Liberty movement will be as much "here" in four years or eight years as the Constitution will be.
And each time one of the main parties blatantly chooses power over honesty and fairness, it opens the unconverted to one of the most important messages of the Liberty movement: that the answers to our problems may not be found in the platforms or most of the people of the main parties that created them.
When I was observing the GOP caucuses in Seattle, I was able to ask a number of caucus goers who they voted for. Everyone I asked who was under 40 was there for Ron Paul. Everyone I asked who was over 65 was there for Mitt Romney. The younger adults would explain why they liked their candidate with passion, conviction, excitement and an unusual understanding of issues -- in other words, the stuff that victories are made of. The senior citizens -- every one of them -- gave as justification for their support of Romney, "He's the man who can beat Obama." (The logic didn't work so well for John Kerry, as I recall.)
I wanted to help them see the flaw in their answer by asking why they'd want to replace a large bank-funded, Patriot Act-supporting, NDAA-supporting, interventionist who doesn't have a plan to reduce government spending in the foreseeable future with a ...
You see, of course, why I couldn't ask the question.
More to the point, the people who "like Romney" are the outgoing seniors. The future of the party will comprise, out of simple biological necessity, those younger, liberty-loving, peace-mongering Constitutionalists, the likes of whom the RNC has worked so hard to put down.
But things are even more exciting if I am wrong.
Think for a minute what happens to all these excitable young people if the GOP old guard stick around for long-enough to succeed in thwarting every effort the Paul supporters make to take over the party. In that case, the GOP will achieve something that no third party has: it will make third parties credible and their support significant. We may even look back at August 28 as the day when the seed of a brand new party was sown. Stranger things have happened.
Whichever way it goes, the GOP's failure to integrate its liberty wing will seriously endanger the duopolistic political system on which they have depended for so long because the liberty movement is now simply too large to disappear.
Whether this liberty movement of critical mass changes the mainstream of U.S. politics by controlling the GOP, or by becoming the philosophically coherent minority that swings elections is, in the long-run, a choice for the Republican party to make. However, for this election cycle, the GOP appears to have made its choice.
It doesn't really matter: a paradigm shift is already under way. As I wrote in "Ron Paul Can Win," the best piece of evidence that this is so is that the means used to by those with an interest in the old, prevailing paradigm to maintain it become more contorted, and increasingly dependent on ignoring large chunks of reality -- like the social and cultural phenomenon of hundreds of thousands of the nation's youth filling stadiums to hear an old conservative politicians talk about even older philosophers and economists; the brute fact that the number of non-supporters of the main parties is unprecedented, or the simple expectation of fair play in competitive endeavors.
To my liberty- and peace-loving friends, I urge that our responsibility in November is to put the mainstream on notice that the Independent, post-partisan middle is now liberty-dominated and large enough to turn elections.
If the mainstream knows this, they will be forced -- out of sheer self-interest and love of power -- to give civil rights, peace and real markets more than lip-service. Remember, in a two-party system, the candidate who wins over the median swing voter wins the election. Controlling the "politics of the middle" therefore offers disproportionate political influence.
To that end, write in Ron Paul if a write-in vote will be counted in your state. If Ron Paul endorses someone, vote for him. Otherwise, vote Gary Johnson (or your favored third party candidate). Just remember that we wield influence by demonstrating to the GOP and DNC that we are the group that swings elections from now on. Therefore, a vote against Obamney is not enough. Even a vote via write-in for Paul is not enough if no one will ever see it. Constitutionalists, libertarians, Blue Republicans, down-the-line pro-peace progressives, protest voters, etc. must vote for Paul's principles and get that vote counted.
I remain a Ron Paul loyalist. I suspect that the most principled politician of our time would consider a vote cast in good conscience for his values to be a vote for him. In fact, if you've come this far as a supporter of Dr. Paul, however you decide to vote in the November in support of his values, you can probably say without too much of a stretch, "I voted for Ron Paul in 2012."
But for sure, you can already say that you supported him when he won the GOP nomination, because that, by any honest measure, is just what he did.
The Republicrats only have their duopoly if we give it to them. And you know what you get if you vote for the lesser of two evils, don't you?
Hint: the answer is in the question.