When I asked Olofson why he’s such a Paul fan, he mentioned a couple of issues. He liked Paul’s “message of bringing our troops home and focusing on what we need to do here.” He appreciated Paul’s “focus on the Constitution.” And he even mustered some ire for the Federal Reserve. “We need some accountability from the Fed,” Olofson said. “Without it there will be disastrous consequences for the country.”

But the core of Olofson’s support for Paul can’t be boiled down to a single issue—and it’s the same for other young Paul followers. “The bottom line,” Olofson told me, “is that Paul has a set model for what he believes. He isn’t swaying all over the place like the rest of these politicians.”

That dogged consistency, I think, is what attracts young voters to Ron Paul. Say what you will about the guy: that he could never get elected, and that he could never enact his ideas if he were. Doesn’t matter. In fact, that’s part of his appeal. Young voters aren’t as beaten down by reality as the rest of us. They aren’t as accustomed to compromise. And they’re searching for a system—religion, Objectivism, Beat poetry, whatever else we were all into in high school and college—to make sense of the world around them. They are, in other words, idealists. And so is the 76-year-old they came to see tonight, whatever else he is.