Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Has Romney Written Off Paul's Supporters ?
I seem to remember that Ron Paul got quite a few votes in the primaries. It wasn't nearly enough to get him the nomination, but it was enough that I thought the Romney Republicans should probably throw them a bone, in the hope that they would vote for Romney and other Republicans in November. After all, Romney will need every vote he can scrounge up to have a chance of beating President Obama.
But the Romney people decided that the illusion of a unified convention was more important than reaching out to Ron Paul's supporters. First they denied Paul a speaking role at the convention (because he would not let the Romney people approve his speech before he gave it). Then they replaced 10 Maine delegates with Romney supporters, thus denying Paul and his supporters the right to even place his name in nomination.
But the final slap in the face came during the roll call vote. When a state cast votes for Romney, those votes were repeated at the podium. But when votes were cast by delegates for Ron Paul, the votes were ignored and not even repeated at the podium. They couldn't have been sending a clearer message to the many Ron Paul supporters, both at the convention and around the country. It was -- You don't count, so shut up and go away.
Maybe the Romney people think the Paul Republicans have no other place to go -- that they will be forced to vote for Romney in November. They are very wrong! If the Paul supporters don't just stay home on election day, there is a viable alternative for them -- Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. The Paul supporters are pretty independent, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they refused to vote for Romney and establishment Republicans -- and that could just be enough votes to cost them the election.
The Libertarians have to be smiling today. Romney's heavy-handed tactics at the convention could have driven a lot of votes their way.