Ron Paul 2012—it sounded more like a joke back in the 2008 Presidential election when the youth vote was first encouraged with popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Obama had a leg up with his more youthful and relatable approach to his campaign, and poor Ron Paul was never let into the discussion by the media.
Fast forward four years and now the 76-year-old-great-grandfather who disappears days at a time from the Republican campaign trail to rest is now reeling in young voters.
Umm, what now?
Yeah, the Texas Republican with the libertarian message of less government, ending the U.S. military involvement overseas, and promoting personal liberty is all over my YouTube page and my Tumblr dashboard. Apparently now the old guy is racking up all the preliminary caucus votes with nearly half of all voters under 30 in the first two states going to Paul. The surprise number of votes pushed him to second-place in the New Hampshire primary and third place in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses.
So why are all the young people backing the oldest candidate?
“Ron Paul is bringing unorthodox ideas to the marketplace that don’t fit with the conventional pillars of either political party,” said Matthew Segal of OurTime.org, a nonpartisan group that promotes political participation among young people. “And because young people today are a uniquely independent-minded generation, he’s resonating with them.”
The man even has an anti-war message, he’s against SOPA Stop Online Piracy Act, and has support for liberalizing drug laws. He isn’t the GOP norm which is great for young Republicans. On the other hand though, Paul doesn’t fully agree with the younger voters on some views. He opposes abortion rights, and he says the subject of gay marriage should be left to the states even though polls for the youngsters show support in the opposite opinions.
With all the other nut jobs we’ve been hearing about running for the GOP nominee, Ron Paul has definitely become someone to think about as an alternative and a serious candidate. Paul even seems to have a better idea as to what the younger voters want in a President with his understanding that his supporters are fearful mostly of joblessness and college loan debt after graduation. His focus on looking at what’s right in front of him at home is appealing to young voters who think the troubled economy should be fixed first.
Saying all of this though poses the question for whether Obama may lose all of the 66 percent of young voters that put him into office in 2008. His popularity has obviously lowered a bit with the ailing economy and the high unemployment, and with Paul’s decision to not rule out a third party candidacy, Obama will have to watch out and try to win over the youth vote all over again.