The Paulnuts have not gone away quietly, even as their star fades from the electoral sky. Andrew Malcom reports that supporters of Ron Paul plan to disrupt the Republican convention in St. Paul with a “revolt” against John McCain. While Paul has had a little success undermining the process of delegate selection in Nevada, Malcolm provides little other evidence that Paul will have any significant presence in September, and unfortunately gives life to debunked analysis:
Virtually all the nation’s political attention in recent weeks has focused on the compelling state-by-state presidential nomination struggle between two Democrats and the potential for party-splitting strife over there.
But in the meantime, quietly, largely under the radar of most people, the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in St. Paul at the beginning of September. …
Just take a look at recent Republican primary results, largely overlooked because McCain locked up the necessary 1,191 delegates long ago. In Indiana, McCain got 77% of the recent Republican primary vote, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, who’ve each long ago quit and endorsed McCain, still got 10% and 5% respectively, while Paul took 8%.
On the same May 6 in North Carolina, McCain received less than three-quarters of Republican votes (74%), while Huckabee got 12%, Paul 7% and Alan Keyes and No Preference took a total of 7%. Pennsylvania was even slightly worse for the GOP’s presumptive nominee, who got only 73% to a combined 27% for Paul (16%) and Huckabee (11%).
As Politico.com’s Jonathan Martin noted recently, at least some of these results are temporary protest votes in meaningless primaries built on lingering affection for Huckabee and suspicion of McCain.
And as Congressional Quarterly noted in response, the pattern is nothing different than anything seen in any other race. McCain has been winning meaningless primaries by the same percentages that George Bush won them in 2000, and McCain significantly outperformed Paul in the 2000 races. At that time, no one seriously thought that Bush had an insurgent problem with McCainiacs, because he didn’t — and now McCain doesn’t have a problem with Ronulans, either. Winning 8% of the vote in a state where McCain didn’t campaign and where McCain-supporting Republicans crossed over to keep Hillary in the race isn’t impressive, it’s pathetic.
One look at the delegate count should make the scope of the nascent revolution clear. Paul has won all of 26 delegates. Even if he wangled a few dozen more through manipulations in caucus states like Nevada, at best he’ll come up with 100 delegates in a 2,200-delegate convention. That’s not a revolution, it’s a lunatic fringe.
For some reason, normally sensible people like John Derbyshire continue to put their hope for electoral victory into a candidate who consorted with and exploited racists and anti-Semites for years in order to bolster his political standing. Thankfully, that 7% Revolution will have no impact on the convention or Republican politics. Next time the libertarians want a hero, perhaps they will vet him or her more carefully.