Rand Paul won't save the Republican party

In general, though, Paul’s political analysis amounts to wishful thinking. It is hard to see California voting for someone who opposes same-sex marriage and sponsored the Life at Conception Act. Black voters seem unlikely to support someone who once expressed opposition to a key part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And the reason Michigan (STOMI1) has voted Democratic in the last six presidential elections isn’t because Republicans are too anti-immigrant. …

Paul’s core problem, though, is his economic agenda. He thinks his views are more attractive than those of past Republicans because he rejects big government and the ways it helps big business. But in practice, this “libertarian populism” puts Republicans exactly where they don’t need to be: on the opposite side from the middle class.

Paul’s economic plan includes a 17 percent flat tax to replace the current income tax. The effect of such a policy would be a bigger bill for a lot of middle-class households. The median income for a family of four is $65,000, and under the current tax code — assuming the family takes the standard deduction — its federal income-tax bill would be about $2,700. Under the plan Paul sketches, it would be about $3,500.