Will Ron Paul’s supporters accept defeat?

Read Ron Paul’s statement that he won’t compete in upcoming primaries and, vague though it may be, there can be little doubt he isn’t expecting to win in 2012. That is news to many die-hard supporters who blame any bad news on the mainstream, corporate media getting it wrong.

That has always been a strange argument, especially to anyone who understands the media. I’ve been involved with media nationally since my early days as a reporter at UPI in New York City. I’ve never known a political reporter or editor who didn’t want a great story, and a convention floor fight for the GOP nomination would be high drama, great for ratings and readership.

But it isn’t going to happen, regardless of how people may be counting delegates.

Ron Paul speaks at a campaign stop earlier this year in Maine. (AP photo)

This story from Politico.com quotes Paul’s campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, as saying Paul was worried by recent incidents at state conventions where his supporters were disruptive, including the Arizona convention where Mitt Romney’s son was booed off the stage.

“It concerns him,” Politico quoted Benton as saying. “He wants to convey to everybody and our staff want to convey that we’ll lose more than we gain if we go and we’re disrespectful. Respect and decorum are very important to Dr. Paul.”

The piece also quotes senior Paul adviser Doug Wead acknowledging that party conventions aren’t fair or democratic. The rules committee may not even let Paul’s name be entered into nomination.

“They won. So we understand that,” he said of the Romney camp.

To Paul and his advisers, the important thing seems to be the message, not the person. Paul’s statement said as much: “But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election.”

Movements and ideas take awhile to gel and gain a foothold. Ron Paul’s political philosophies could gain that foothold on the mainstream with time, but not if they are seen as the province of angry fanatics who won’t work within the political system.

The next few months will show whether Paul’s die-hard supporters get this.

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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. Josh

    1.) Your journalistic integrity is discredited by repeating and propagating the hotly contested lie that Josh Romney was booed off stage. Do some research on this topic and you will find it is a lie or at best a vast exaggeration.

    2.) Romney is just a candidate, the party platform is what any self respecting politically charged individual would be interested in. How is attending your party’s convention and voting for your faction’s ideals anything but the most reasonable path to getting your voice heard? Calling activism and involvement fanatical is insidious and false. I don’t accuse you of calling them fanatical, but you do help to push the issue by repeating and not contesting it.

  2. Mitt Romney

    Don’t you believe it!

    MSM is twisting words again regarding Ron Paul’s latest email statement. The TRUTH is that he is simply not pouring money into primary states (just like he’s already been doing like in Florida). But he most CERTAINLY is still working in the caucus states and most DEFINITELY is still in the race for the nomination.



  3. Steve

    I am fully behind Ron Paul, but I never held the belief that he would win the Republican nomination for president. What he has won is far more important than the presidency, namely, the contest of ideas. His influence so far has been enourmous, much more so than any of the other candidates. I will continue to support him and his ideas, and I believe they will continue to gain traction as others begin to understand that he’s been right all along. Defeat? The furthest thing from it!

  4. CLM

    Well said, Steve! We have Ron Paul to thank for using the prominent forum of presidential candidacy to speak truths that 99.9% of politicians would never think to let fall from their lips. Ron Paul single handedly put the Federal Reserve into the common parlance as well as persuaded many to have a healthy suspicion of it. The FED being the source of our economic woes, Just RP’s bringing it into the spotlight alone makes him victorious.

  5. David King

    Fifty years from now, I and many other young people will probably still refer to ourselves as “Ron Paul” Republicans. How many will carry the moniker of “Mitt Romney” Republicans or “Newt Gingrich” Republicans? To me, Ron Paul’s legacy and success is inspiring young people to become involved in politics like no other Republican candidate has ever done. George Washington said, “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” That is what Ron Paul discovered running for President. That movement continues to grow and will eventually sweep the country.

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