I’m not too proud to admit it – In the 2000 election, I supported Nader. In 2004, at least for the primary, I voted for Kucinich. Obviously, most others did not. Interestingly, very few people argued with me about their political platforms. The largest obstacle to getting these long shots elected was that people didn’t want to waste their vote on a candidate who couldn’t win. Even in Texas, where I lived during the 2000 election, and where Bush was guaranteed a victory, liberals would not support Nader because they didn’t want to “steal votes” from Gore. The Ron Paul presidential campaign is very different in that literally no one who supports him worries about taking votes from another candidate.
When people hear Ron Paul speak and are inspired to support him, they do so emphatically. They tend to come to the immediate conclusion that all the other candidates are entirely unacceptable because they don’t defend the most sacred of American documents, the Constitution.
It is difficult to accuse Ron Paul of stealing votes because he pulls from all political groups. Liberal hippies, gun enthusiasts, registered libertarians, brand new voters, “old guard” republicans, and the previously apathetic, are all flocking to Ron Paul. So which campaign could possibly argue that he is stealing their votes and guaranteeing the other side a victory?
Some Ron Paul supporters are sure he will win. Some are sure he has no chance. And many others believe it’s possible with a lot of hard work. But the key is that his chances of winning are completely irrelevant to the supporters’ enthusiasm and dedication to getting him elected. No one is concerned about wasting votes because Ron Paul isn’t just the best candidate in their eyes – he is the only candidate.
Whoever the powers are who “anoint” the front-runner candidates, they have made a serious miscalculation in attempting to undermine Ron Paul’s campaign and relegate him to fringe status. It has not discouraged people from supporting his candidacy. On the contrary, it has inspired tens of thousands of people to work harder than they ever have to get the word out about Ron Paul. People who have never given more than a vote to a political campaign are now giving as much time and money as they can spare, toward both official and unofficial activities. You can be that not a single one will be staying home on election day.