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Did Paul Vote Loss/Belligerent Foreign Policy Stance Cost Romney The Election?
They went home and voted for Romney?
Immediately after the election Handan Azhar published an extremely important article The Ron Paul Effect: How the GOP Threw the Election By Disenfranchising Ron Paul Supporters policymic.com November 8th 2012
New analysis reveals that in no less than five states, Romney’s margin of loss to President Obama in the general election was less than the number of votes received by Ron Paul in that state’s primary.
In Florida, for example, Obama defeated Romney by 46,000 votes; meanwhile, Ron Paul received over 117,000 votes in the primary. If only 40% of these Ron Paul Republicans stayed home on Election Day, it would have been enough to cost Romney the state and its 29 electoral votes.
A similar case can be made for Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. Along with Florida, these five states account for a whopping 71 Electoral College votes. Remember that Obama earned 332 electoral votes compared to Romney’s 206. Had Romney won these five states, they would have been sufficient to give him a narrow 277-261 victory over the President.
Azhar noted that to argue these voters caused Romney’s defeat requires the assumption that from 40% (Florida) to 95% (Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia) of the Paul supporters abstained in the general election.
I do not find that a difficult assumption to make. I know quite a few serious Paul supporters. They are highly ideological – fanatics, in fact. I would be surprised if a fifth of them voted for Romney. Many no doubt followed Peter Brimelow’s thinking and voted Libertarian or some other 3rd Party. Most probably did not vote. And not a few very likely voted for Obama, repelled by Romney’s Foreign Policy bellicosity and attracted by Obama's relative dovishness. That switch of course amplifies the impact of Romney’s Paul blunder.
As Azhar notes, Team Romney worked hard to insult and repel the Paul supporters:
When Ron Paul went to the Republican National Convention in August, he brought with him the youngest delegation in the history of the Republican Party.
How were they welcomed? When they arrived, their signs were confiscated and torn up before their eyes. The Maine delegation was summarily unseated and sent home because they contained too many Paul supporters. At the last minute, the Rules Committee changed the ballot access requirement from five states to eight states to prevent Ron Paul’s name from being entered into nomination. They even prevented his name from being mentioned from the podium!
The establishment’s abominable treatment of Ron Paul supporters at the RNC was only the culmination of a corrupt and shameful primary season. In Louisiana, Ron Paul delegates were arrested when it became clear that they were in the majority at the state convention. In Arizona, desperate party bosses turned off the lights at the state convention to prevent Ron Paul supporters from being elected to a party position. In both Maine and Nevada, Romney campaign officials were caught distributing fake delegate slates. In Missouri, police were called to shut down the St. Charles caucus when a Ron Paul victory appeared imminent.
Further documentation of this craziness was provided in The Ron Paul factor in the GOP's defeat by Gregory Patin Examiner.com November 10 2012.
As far as I can see, this plausible and important line of thought has attracted no follow up. As Patin says
…very few in either party or the media seem to want to mention the Ron Paul factor.
The 2012 election of course produced a classic Exhibit A of MSM news repression – the 1½ minutes Paul, the only dissident on foreign policy, got in the hour debate purportedly on that subject as I discussed in The CBS/GOP Debate Atrocity Quantified. Of course the MSM does not want to discuss Paul.
But with Ron Paul having foolishly thrown away the immigration card (we still have some hopes for his son) foreign policy was the key policy difference between him and the GOP Establishment.
The looming question raised by the probably lethal Paul defections is: can the Republicans afford a warlike foreign policy?