There's an old saying: “Be careful what you wish for – it might come true.”
Many Americans who have lost faith in the American electoral system have turned to an “alternative” presidential candidate, Ron Paul. In fact, many are calling him that last hope for constitutional democracy. He has run for president before, but this time, it's very different.
On a visit to the US in the spring of 2008, I found that everyone was buzzing with the upcoming November Presidential election. They were speculating on the outcome and what that might mean for their futures.
By 2010, many of those who threw their bonnets over the windmill for Mr. Obama were already dissatisfied that he was turning out to be a mistake in the extreme, and now they were buzzing about the November 2010 election. At that time, the Tea Party had grown to prominence, and many Americans were betting their futures on the outcome of the election and what that might mean for their futures.
Well, here we are again – the next election. Nothing has been solved in any meaningful way in recent years, yet, just as in the last two elections, many Americans seem to be basing their hopes for a good future on whoever wins the coming election.
One extraordinary factor in this election is that the President – having shown very little leadership in three years – is at the helm of the most powerful nation on earth. Yet, having failed to improve conditions for Americans, he has, in effect, stopped running the country. He seems to have decided to abdicate the final year of his job in favour of campaigning. To those of us who are not American, it is difficult to imagine why Americans (of both parties) are not shouting for their President to roll up his sleeves and do what he has been paid to do – get back to work.
At the same time, we watch the debates for the Republican Party and see each politician endlessly repeating his rehearsed sound bites, each one describing with flimsy reasoning why he or she is the best choice as the next leader. Each one seems to get his shot at the spotlight for a while, ratings climbing, before he is ripped to pieces by his opponents, the press and the public. He (or she) is then given the hook, and another hapless hopeful jumps into the spotlight for his turn.
A Different Type of Candidate; A Different Kind of Man
This seems true for nearly all the candidates except Congressman Ron Paul. His message is clear and consistent, he has no polished phrases that are uttered repeatedly like advertising, and, above all, he has no history of political wheeling & dealing: no scandals in his past, no evidence of a sociopathic ego. Whether the voter agrees with his stance or not, he is the real deal – an honest leader – something very rarely seen in politics in any country.
Dr. Paul's following is also different from the other candidates. They are extraordinarily loyal and truly believe in him as a potential saviour of the American crisis.
The press have also treated Dr. Paul differently. Both the liberal and conservative media have tried to treat him as though he does not exist, even to the extent of apparently leaving him out of polls so that his name does not appear. However, this is now changing. Now that he is becoming a force to be reckoned with, he is no longer ignored. In fact, both groups, but especially the Republicans, are attacking him.
The pundits on television state repeatedly that he should be discounted, as he cannot gain the nomination of his party, and that, if he should then run as an independent, he will only be a spoiler, splitting the Republican vote and assuring a victory for Mr. Obama. Now that Dr. Paul is developing as a serious contender, they are even more vitriolic toward him than they normally are toward Mr. Obama.
Why should this be? I believe that the reason is this: he just might win.
More Than Just an Alternate Candidate
The Republican Party finds Dr. Paul to be a threat, as he doesn't toe the party line. He appears to place the needs of the country before the needs of the party. But I believe it goes farther than this. If he were to become the most popular candidate and were then refused nomination by the Republican party, he may well run as an independent, taking the lion's share of the Republican vote with him.
What the press and the politicians are avoiding talking about is that he stands a very good chance of taking a large share of the independent vote. Beyond that, he may well take a fair share of the Democratic vote – those democrats who have been disappointed by Mr. Obama. Dr. Paul could conceivably gain the Presidency by winning just over one-third of the votes.
In my belief, the powers that be have two very justified fears if Dr. Paul were to win.
First, he is not at all a Washington insider. He is not likely to crack deals to assure his future. In fact, he is very likely to shine a light on those who do. This makes him a dangerous man to have around. However, the second fear of Dr. Paul is the greater of the two. If he won, he would evidence to the American public that the two-party system – with both parties controlled equally by corporatism – is not a foregone conclusion.
The people have a choice. They still retain enough power as voters to reject a thoroughly corrupt system and install an alternative. In fact, a Paul Presidency could lead the way for a wholesale rejection of incumbent politicians in Congress in 2014. I believe that this is not only possible, it is likely.
Taking Off the Gloves
For this reason, those watching this drama unfold should expect an increasing level of effort to stop Dr. Paul before the election – an effort that would go far beyond the character assassination of Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich. Whilst his opponents and the media may find no philandering in his past – no corruption, no backroom dealing – he will be accused of being a racist, a crackpot and even a silly old man.
If (or when) this fails to deter voters, I anticipate that they will then bring out the heavy artillery. They will castigate him as an isolationist for his lack of commitment to warfare. They will call him a friend of the drug lords for his stance on ending the war on drugs. They will produce witnesses to lay false claims against his character. They will create lies out of whole fabric to discredit him. If these efforts fail, they will then label him a traitor.
Could it get worse than this?
The current system cannot risk being destroyed by someone it regards as an upstart. If necessary, he would need to be removed. It is possible that he would be accidentally run down by a bus, or that someone would put a bullet in him. (Some nutter with a reputation for antisocial behaviour would quickly be found to be the culprit, and suitable evidence would subsequently appear.)
Does this seem too extreme? Too unlikely? It certainly might seem so.
Then again, I believe that most readers will agree that far worse has been done by the powers that be, in their ongoing quest to retain and increase their power. They have spent many decades building up a power that is only now beginning to succeed in marginalising the population in a truly effective way. It would seem unlikely in the extreme that one fine, gifted man will be allowed to upset the applecart at this late stage.
And if some tragedy were to befall Dr. Paul – how would this be seen? I believe that, at that point, the writing would really be on the wall for those who see Dr. Paul as the last great hope for a return to constitutional democracy in America.