Texas congressman Ron Paul, a long-shot candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, told ABC News’ This Week on Sunday that his campaign was changing the political landscape.
Citing high turnout at campaign events, especially from young people, Paul said an “intellectual revolution is going on and that has to come first before you see the political changes. That’s where I’m very optimistic.”
The septuagenarian congressman, who has announced that he will not stand for reelection in Texas, captured more than 20 percent of the vote in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire last month. In both elections, Paul won half the youth vote and in the latter, a third of self-declared independents.
Among first time voters, too, Paul’s limited government and anti-war rhetoric resonated although it remains anathema to many social conservatives and defense hawks who reject the Texan’s candidacy as having no bearing on their party’s future.
Paul on Sunday begged to differ. “There’s a lot of people talking about free-market economics rather than Keynesian welfarism and interventionism,” he said.
There is an intellectual revolution going on with the young people. There are people who have sat on the sidelines for years.
He observed that many Republican primary voters remain unsatisfied with the current field of presidential hopefuls. “I don’t see a lot of difference among our other candidates or between the two parties,” he said. “It’s all big government spending. Nobody wants to cut anything. Nobody wants to stop the wars.”
Where other candidates have proposed cuts in projected spending increases, Paul would eliminate $1 trillion in spending from the actual budget. Even such a huge reduction in spending wouldn’t balance the budget however. The federal deficit this fiscal year is expected to reach $1.1 trillion which is down from nearly $1.6 trillion last year.
Paul didn’t do as well as expected in Nevada’s caucuses over the weekend but hopes to rebound in Colorado and Maine this week. Republican voters there tend to be more libertarian.
Even if he doesn’t win in any of the states outright, the congressman will pick up delegates that he can take to the nominating convention in August to try to influence the party platform if not the nominee. If neither of his fellow contenders manages to gather a majority of delegates before the convention, Paul’s could cast the deciding vote.