Today, at around 3:45 PM, MDT, I voted for Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul on the June 5th Montana Primary Ballot, at Lockwood School in Billings, Yellowstone County. My dad voted for him absentee last month. My mom and sister voted for him earlier today. One of my friends voted for him yesterday, and some of my other friends will be voting for him this evening.
The Primary in Montana, at least in regards to Republican Presidential candidates, is a preference poll. It is essentially meaningless. There is no proportional allocation, and no relation to the June 14 Convention/Caucus. But a show of support is still necessary. Ron Paul got 21% of the vote on June 3, 2008 to McCain’s 76%. I suspect Paul will have a similar showing this go-around, though still a second-place finish. Unlike in 2008, however, there are four people on the ballot (Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul). With any luck, this will hurt Romney’s percentage more than it does Paul’s.
Romney took all 25 delegates last time. That is because the Caucus took place in February before he dropped out. This time, the Caucus is after the Primary. Paul might well get more delegates than Romney. I personally know a few people that are Precinct Committee Members and Ron Paul supporters. There is a chance that the Paul grassroots have or will soon take over the GOP in Montana, at least in certain counties (Yellowstone being one of them).
Regardless of what happens, I will be voting for Paul in November, as the Republican Nominee (a very long shot), as a Third Party Candidate, or as a write-in candidate.
If Paul is the Nominee, I have little doubt that he could win. If Romney is the nominee, I have little doubt he will lose. If Romney is defeated by Obama under those circumstances, Ron Paul will be vindicated. If Romney defeats Obama under those circumstances, Paul will still be vindicated because Romney’s first four years would be little better than Obama’s second four, and a potential eight years of Romney would be significantly worse than mere four more years of Obama. This vindication will be a source of a pride, if nothing else, to me and other Paul supporters.
Assuming Romney is the GOP pick, I commend all of those that intend to write-in Ron Paul, write-in Mickey Mouse, vote for Gary Johnson, vote for Virgil Goode, vote for a number of other third-party candidates, or simply stay home. Some would say that such division is not good within the Liberty movement. This view is naive because it assumes a third party candidacy or one of its variants will serve any purposes other than to protest the two establishment candidates or deny one of those two victory. In my view, a Third Party will never win without the implosion of one of the two major parties. The Whigs needed the Federalist Party to implode, the Republicans needed the Whig Party to implode, and uppercase/lowercase libertarians will need either the Republicans or Democrats to go the way of the dodo.
Some (Josh Tolley being one) have said that the GOP could (at least temporarily) implode at the Convention if all delegates bound to/free to support Paul, and Paul-supporting delegates bound to others, alternates included, refuse to go along with anyone other than Ron Paul on all RNC ballots, even to the point of boycotting the entire convention if necessary. Of course, this would require the numbers to be in our favor (because “uncooperative” delegates can be replaced by alternates), and a concerted, coordinated, consensual effort on the part of these delegates.
I seriously doubt this will happen. There are just too many variables. But having many variables is not necessarily in Romney’s favor, either.
For the record, there are no likely concessions that Romney could make that will make me vote for him in the General election. He could make Rand Paul his VP and Ron Paul Treasury Secretary, and I still won’t vote for him. Romney would have to literally morph into Paul, and convince me of his sincerity, before I would even consider such a move. If a candidate is not for Ending the Wars, effectively Ending the Fed (either through abolishment or currency competition), Repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, and getting out of the UN, he will NEVER get my vote. If he is not trustworthy and sincere, even where he is wrong, he will NEVER get my vote. I guard it jealously. I suspect that if all Americans, from all parts of the political spectrum, did this, rather than act in an expedient manner, this country would be far better off.
Ron Paul 2012!