Last week, thousands of Ron Paul supporters likely cried “Judas” when the Presidential candidate’s son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered his support for Mitt Romney.
But some within the Ron Paul Revolution don’t seem all that worried. The elder Paul himself recognized prior to the announcement that he didn’t have enough delegates to secure the Republican Party nomination; though, he has undoubtedly secured enough to have a place at the party convention (Paul predicts 500).
“My first choice had always been my father,” Paul told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last Thursday. “I campaigned for him when I was 11 years old. He’s still my first pick. But now that the nominating process is over, tonight I’m happy to announce that I’m going to be supporting Gov. Mitt Romney.”
While some members of the Ron Paul camp have expressed disdain at the turn of events, other Paul supporters are urging them to consider the bigger picture: Paul’s victory in the battle for the White House would pale in comparison to the chance his supporters have to redefine the Republican Party in coming years.
Reason’s Brian Doherty turns to Republican Party history to explain the movement that is under way, writing:
The Goldwater movement in 1960 was seen as too young, too radical and too outside the mainstream by the GOP establishment of its day.
The religious right during the 1988 Pat Robertson campaign was seen as an overly loud and pushy minority.
But just as those minorities grew and dominated the GOP, the libertarian-leaning energy of the Ron Paul movement is primed to shape the future of the Republican Party.
With their unique seriousness about reining in a government drowning in debt, neither the Republican Party nor the country can afford to ignore the concerns of Paul’s devotees.
Paulitical Ticker blogger Jack Hunter explains more here:
Former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who wants his 267 delegates to get piece of the convention action, has noted that a fight within the GOP is already under way.
“I want to make sure that our delegates have an opportunity to come, many of these folks were great volunteers and workers for us and I want to make sure they have the opportunity to experience that convention, and we have other candidates who have delegates coming who, let’s put it this way, may have a different approach, particularly to the platform,” Santorum said speaking to a conservative group last Friday.
Santorum will likely get his fight. In a campaign email last week, Paul urged his delegates to prepare to head to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.
“I hope every one of you continues the fight we have advanced so well this year. I hope you will finish your local and state conventions, and, if you were selected as a national delegate, that you will head to Tampa in August to force the Republican Party to listen to the voice of liberty,” said the correspondence. “We have never had this kind of opportunity. There will be hundreds of your fellow supporters in Tampa who will be ready and willing to push the Republican Party back to its limited government, liberty roots.”
The Republican National Committee is already bracing itself to deal with Paul supporters who want to reshape its policies. A three-day festival directly preceding the convention in honor of Paul was put on hold last week because the RNC — which controls most of the free space in Tampa the week of the convention, including the fairgrounds where the festival was scheduled to be held — has for now blocked approval for the event.
If the RNC blocks the event, there is a possibility that it will have 20,000 angry Paul supporters who were expected to attend spread throughout Tampa and a swarm of unhappy delegates attending the convention. It could mean serious bad press surrounding the weeklong Romney love-fest.