If the Republican Presidential race were decided on intensity of support, Ron Paul would be the frontrunner. Of course it’s not, so Paul’s constant showing of about 10% in nearly every poll allows the political class to treat him as a fringe candidate.
Whether or not you agree with his libertarian doctrines, he deserves more regard because of the loyalty he draws from his supporters and the importance of their votes. Handicappers will speculate on who will win Paul’s voters when he is forced to drop out. I don’t expect Paul to drop out, or for very many of his supporters to abandon him when the process comes down to the two-person race many anticipate between Mitt Romney and Herman Cain or Rick Perry. Instead, I could see Paul gaining support, especially if Cain’s candidacy is blown up by sexual harassment charges.
Paul is the hero of libertarian voters. He is a physician turned Constitutionalist politician. His first run for President was as a Libertarian in 1988, and ran as a Republican in 2008. Paul has represented a district near Houston that includes Galveston for 12 terms, beginning in 1976 and including two separate breaks in service. He has said he will “never vote for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.” He opposes foreign interventions (Paul voted against the Iraq War Resolution) and favors withdrawal from the UN and NATO. He opposes NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Paul has pledged never to raise taxes and or vote to approve a budget deficit.