Four years ago, the Ron Paul revolution swept through Nevada, drawing a wave of politically disaffected, mostly young, avidly libertarian voters into the stream of Republican politics.
Back then, it was the Paul-ites vs. the establishment. The Republican Party was their Tammany Hall and they weren’t going to stop until they had rousted the compromising, moderate, power-hungry leaders from the GOP ranks.
And they had a pretty notable victory toward that end.
A deftly organized cadre of Paul supporters who had become experts in the arcane rules governing the Republican Party and who had armed themselves with laptops and cellphones to communicate infiltrated the 2008 state convention.
Using the party’s own rules against it, they forced a change that would have allowed them to elect delegates from the floor, yanking the delegate selection process out of the hands of the party elite.
Ultimately, the party leaders, fearing Nevada delegates would go to the national convention to support Paul — who came in second in the caucuses — instead of the party’s nominee John McCain, aborted the convention before delegates could be elected.
It became a national embarrassment for the Nevada GOP. The national party ended up choosing Nevada’s delegates.
Since then, Paul’s Nevada supporters have been working a new strategy. As Paul readies his 2012 presidential campaign, the outsiders have now become the insiders, working to change the state Republican Party from within its own ranks, rather than battling it from the outside.