Hillary is Not Rand Paul’s Problem, Bernie Sanders Is

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Thu, Aug 6 - 5:10 pm EST | 3 years ago by
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The Morse Code - Rand Paul

Recently, I was with a fellow EveryJoe writer at a house in Houston for a small get-together. In attendance was none other than Rand Paul himself. In fact, the entire event was centered around him.

This small party was one of his many stops on his campaign trail, and I was lucky enough to be one of those invited to actually meet the man. I make it no secret that I am a huge fan the guy, as his beliefs fall in line with mine quite a bit. While we all want to see a break from big government and a return to liberty, Paul seems like one of the few out there to actually want to put pedal to metal, and not just drive Mrs. Daisy.

Speaking of Mrs. Daisy, Paul gave a short speech at the party, and during it he mentioned that one of the main goals of Republicans today is to beat Hillary.

He’s correct, but in regard to every Republican but him.

Paul has a steady habit of leading Hillary Clinton in polls, or at least being a serious contender, and has had been one for some time. I think it’s safe to say that Clinton cannot contend with Paul in a one-on-one. His following isn’t just libertarians and conservatives, it also includes a good piece of the voting population that Clinton would rightfully assume is hers.

There is a chunk of liberal Democrats who are looking forward to voting for Paul, and for a good reason. He’s got all the contrasts from typical Republican-thought that Democrats like, and none of the social restrictions that they don’t. Meanwhile, Hillary has proven herself to be an authoritarian, along with being hollow and opportunistic to boot.

Paul has been straightforward about his hands-off positions from the get-go. He’s an easy candidate to get behind and follow, and thus Hillary is being abandoned by her own in favor of Paul. That explains why he does so well against her in general election match-up polling.

Regardless, Paul is falling behind in primary polling. While there has been speculation as to why, I have some theories of my own – the rise of Donald Trump being one of them.

Trump’s anti-establishment showboating and constant media coverage has captured the attention of many an onlooker, and he has seduced a good portion of them into thinking he’s the man who can take us away from the business-as-usual atmosphere. It doesn’t matter that Trump’s policies are different from Rand’s, he’s seen as an “outsider.”

But this outsider throne is one that rightfully belongs to Rand, and I think it will return to him in time. While Trump is stealing Paul’s thunder right now, he is burning bright too early. As the election debates go on, Trump’s star will fade, partly due to the law of undulation, but most likely due to the same reason conservatives are singing his praises now – his inability to keep his mouth shut. At some point, Trump will cross the line, and it will cost him.

Eventually, those wayward anti-establishment supporters will return to Paul’s camp and put more meat into his voting base, increasing his poll numbers and invigorating his currently demoralized campaign. My advice to Paul and his staff is just to simply weather this particular storm.

But Paul does have a problem that he should address directly, and that is one of Bernie Sanders.

While there is a stark difference between Paul and Clinton, the Kentucky Senator and Sanders are often indistinguishable from one another. You can play “Who Said It?” with a lot of their talk on civil liberties, foreign affairs, ISIS, and Obama’s authority, and have a challenging time of it. Their major differences come in the form of their economic policies. Paul is the flat tax, limited government libertarian, and Bernie is the tax-the-rich at 90% super-socialist.

They are two very similar men who couldn’t be any more different from each other, and it’s because of this that the leftists who want the social freedom that the Republican’s radical anti-establishment candidate was willing to provide now have a radical anti-establishment candidate of their own.

During the house party, when Rand was taking questions, I brought this point up to him and upon mentioning Bernie’s attractiveness to the leftists who would have gladly voted for Paul, I couldn’t help but turn and look at Ron who was standing in the back of the room, when I mentioned the oddity of it all. In fact, to the Pauls, it seemed too odd to be true.

Rand’s response was skeptical, and understandably so. Sanders doesn’t get a lot of coverage from the media. His staff doesn’t spend too much time outside right-wing circles where you often see libertarian/leftist debates rage on. On the political spectrum, Sanders is so far left to Rand that you’d have a hard time drawing comparisons at a glance.

Rand expressed his disdain for socialism, and focused wholly on the economic positions of Sanders as he answered me.

But Sanders is a dark horse, just like Rand. Both support civil and social freedom that is attractive to voters, but only Rand is supporting a level of freedom that goes further than Sanders would ever dare to. Economic policy for Sanders looks like punishing corporations and the rich into obeying the government. Meanwhile, Rand actually wants to change tax law to make them want to cooperate willingly. These little economic differences signal very different ideas and methods of achieving them that many would-be voters either don’t know about or haven’t considered.

Because of this ignorance, Sanders is cutting into support that Rand Paul would otherwise have. His social libertarianism is being shared by an economic socialist, and those who love shouting “tax the rich” and “we are the 99%” won’t follow Paul so long as Bernie Sanders is offering to stick it to the man and spread the wealth garnered by the wealthier among us, and they will do what they can to convince the more moderate among them to do the same.

These people like Rand Paul because he is strongly against crony capitalism – especially more so than Clinton – but Bernie goes a step further. It’s why Rand wins with these people in a general election match-up against Hillary, but is losing these supporters to Bernie on the primary level.

Even though Rand and Bernie have very different economic ideas, the ultimate fact is Sanders has no chance of winning the Presidency. The Clinton machine is too eclipsing of the admittedly grassroots following of Sanders. Paul, despite his campaign’s recent valley, has the capability of peaking into serious contender territory.

In order for that to become a reality, Paul would do well to put less focus on Clinton, and begin the process of recovering the support that is currently looking to Sanders. Paul’s simplistic views and realistic plans can be easily explained. The details and nuances would be an exciting thing to flesh out. What’s more, they would have a lot more substance than Sanders’ wishes to tax the rich, and return to extremely high rates not seen since the 1950s.

The distinguishing factor between Sanders and Paul is a simple one – higher taxes vs flat taxes. Everyone wants to be wealthy if possible, but that kind of success will be much harder to attain if Sanders is elected. Rand needs to put this message out to those libertarians who are currently being fooled by Sanders’ rhetoric. If he does, a spike in the polls is very likely to follow, and Paul’s campaign will receive that very needed shot in the arm.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Brandon Morse has been writing about politics and culture across many websites for the last six years, with a heavy emphasis on anti-authoritarianism. Aside from writing articles, he is also known for voice acting and authoring scripts. He is an avid gamer, dog person, and has a bad habit of making vague references to things no one has heard about or seen. Follow him at @TheBrandonMorse on Twitter.

EveryJoe columnist Corie Whalen Stephens also contributed to this piece.

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Click through the gallery below to see where Rand Paul and many of the other GOP candidates stand on the issues.


Donald Trump

Learn more about where Donald Trump stands on the issues.

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Ben Carson

Learn more about where Ben Carson stands on the issues.

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Ted Cruz

Learn more about where Ted Cruz stands on the issues.

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Marco Rubio

Learn more about where Marco Rubio stands on the issues.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Scott Walker

Learn more about where Scott Walker stands on the issues.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jeb Bush

Learn more about where Jeb Bush stands on the issues.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rand Paul

Learn more about where Rand Paul stands on the issues.

Photo by Gerry Hanan/Getty Images for SXSW

Mike Huckabee

Learn more about where Mike Huckabee stands on the issues.

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Carly Fiorina

Learn more about where Carly Fiorina stands on the issues.

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  • Anonymous

    What “civil and social freedoms” does Batshit Bernie support, exactly? Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention but I don’t see any, beyond the usual enthusiasm for dope and sexual perversion that distinguish his party. He cringes at the thought of any of the taxpayer proles owning a gun, and he wants to increase taxes and regulation of all types. As far as I can tell he thinks that what’s wrong with America is that we aren’t enough like North Korea for his liking, and he intends to fix this, with himself in the role of Kim Jong Un.

    • Casey

      He was one of the few who voted against the Patriot Act as well as its reauthorization. As far as gun ownership, he’s against the ownership of assault weapons (maybe thats what theyre called? the really big ones..) but supports hunting and self defense guns. I believe he also supports background checks.
      Also watch your language with “social perversion.” The whole point of civil freedom is that if it doesn’t hurt you it shouldn’t concern you.

    • Anonymous

      What you call “assault weapons,” a meaningless term coined by Sarah Brady, I call “modern firearms,” and those ARE the “self defense guns.” The plain language of the Constitution is quite, quite clear on the matter, even if the thinking of political hacks on the Supreme Court is not.

      Likewise, homosexuality is socially corrosive and socially destructive. In every nation where its open practice appears, it is an inevitable sign of decadence and impending collapse. AIDS contaminating the nation’s blood supply is harmful. AIDS-dripping old queers “marrying” and then adopting little boys is harmful. If I wanted to live in a society where pederasty was an accepted and celebrated social norm, I’d move to Iraq or Afghanistan.

      Oh, and watch YOUR language. Don’t be so fucking PC.

    • Casey

      Damn, all I can think of is how different your life would be if you were raised by gay parents. More filled with Broadway plays probably. For sure you’d have more of an opportunity to practice some empathy.

    • anonymous

      Yeah, and I’d have been raised to think sucking dick and taking dicks in my asshole was normal, too. Homosexuality is learned behavior, you see. It’s a socially corrosive, socially destructive learned behavior, but it’s a learned behavior, not something innate. If it were not, the concept of “jailhouse gay” could not exist.

      And yes, that’s why the Frisco freak-show NAMBLA mob all want to “marry” and adopt little boys, in order to “educate” them about their “beautiful budding sexuality.” Very nearly every society that has ever existed has found such things repugnant. Even Mother Nature loathes it, and visits AIDS and Hepatitis B upon those who engage in these vile, vile practices, but they stubbornly refuse to take the hint.

      “Ten percent is not enough! Recruit, recruit, recruit!” “Eight is too late!”

      No thanks. Free dope and glory holes are not my idea of freedom, nor my idea of a good time, nor my idea of a society in which I want to live.

    • Casey

      Calculus is a learned behavior what’s your point. Also, an HIV vaccine is in the works so mother nature can go scissor herself.

    • anonymous

      Did your “two daddies” teach you to make non-responses in debate like that, while they were spit-roasting you?

      Do you like little boys too? Do you want to “marry” another fag and “adopt” a little boy of your own?

    • Casey

      It’s bad practice to debate with internet trolls. One should only keep them engaged enough to keep them inside their homes and away from society.
      -this is my last post, this has been fun, thanks! Feel free to have the last word though

    • anonymous

      So, you admit you like little boys, faggot? Is your NAMBLA membership up to date?

  • http://www.briangarst.com/ Brian Garst

    I understand where you’re coming from, as I think both Paul and Sanders are reaching for similar demographics – namely the young and politically alienated – but I’m not sure how much real overlap is there. I don’t think Sanders has much of any real libertarian support. On almost any contemporary issue he takes the anti-libertarian side – health care, entitlements, taxes, minimum wages, regulation, student loans… hell, he’s even managed to lose them on immigration which is hard to do for a democrat. Sure, in a two person race against Hillary, some anti-establishment leftists, which is how I’d describe the average Sanders supporter, might hold their noses to support Paul because of foreign policy, or surveillance, etc, but they’d never do real work in a Republican primary.

    But I’m getting off track, what I really wanted to say is that polls at this stage are all but meaningless. The real race right now is happening behind the scenes, in the scramble to claim experienced campaigners and mega donors. It’s a fight for party infrastructure, and there’s only so much to go around. That’s where Paul’s real challenge is right now – he’s not accumulating the war chest that many thought he would. Public opinion can have marginal impact on this stage, in so far as it might indicate electability to the money movers, but there’s not a strong relationship.

    Building the infrastructure that will win the first actual contests is what it’s all about right now.

    • Brandon Morse

      I’m not so sure. I spend a lot of time outside Republican circles and there are forum after forum dedicated to convincing folk to pull away from Paul and toward Sanders. That independent vote is a lot larger than many think. While you’re not wrong about his contribution problem, I think a chunk of that problem stems from Sanders stealing support.

  • Kasimir Urbanski

    I kind of covered this same resemblance, from a different angle: http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/07/14/politics/news-media-put-anyone-in-white-house/#1

    • Brandon Morse

      Too true. I’m glad you’re seeing what I’m seeing as well. I think it’s very easy to discount the independent vote, especially in the midst of the primaries. I hope Paul reads this stuff and adjusts accordingly.

    • Kasimir Urbanski

      and well, while I’m plugging my Paul-related articles, here’s the latest one: http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/08/07/politics/rand-paul-should-fire-his-managers/#1

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