UPDATE: Bullet dodged.
Many of you are familiar with my Ron Paul baby conspiracy theory, which goes a little something like this:
--Ron Paul doesn't care about the Republican Party. (He actually held a press conference including the Green Party candidate in 2008 to encourage people to avoid voting for the D or the R.)
--Ron Paul doesn’t think there’s much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats, therefore he doesn’t see a Mitt Romney victory over Barack Obama as all that important.
--Ron Paul is old and isn’t running for congress anymore. This is essentially his last political act.
--Ron Paul obviously is not winning the Republican nomination, but will still raise a lot of money.
--Ron Paul never completely rules out a third party run.
--Ron Paul will drop out of the Republican race at the last minute, walk into the Libertarian convention, and run as their presidential candidate.
I call it my baby conspiracy theory, because I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that it was going to happen, and I have to stretch on certain aspects of the theory, while ignoring some other evidence to make it work. In other words, I don’t take it that seriously.
But, I do think it could happen, and would essentially hand the presidency to Barack Obama for four more years. Some people have suggested that Paul might wind up running as an independent, but the ballot access rules make an independent run such a pain, that I don’t think he’d go that route. On the other hand, the Libertarian Party offers ballot access in close to 50 states automatically. It also offers a convention format that would basically allow him to stroll in whenever he wants and become the nominee, assuming he could win a vote among hardcore libertarian activists.(Is there even a question he’d win that?)
As his last major political act, I think Paul could quite likely believe that introducing his ideas on a stage bigger than ever before could be worth the political hits he’d take. Could he win? No, but he could get in the debates, and perform as well as any third party candidate since Perot. That might be enough for him. (The only thing really stopping this would be fear for his son Rand’s career. Republicans will surely punish him, fair or not, if daddy goes down this road.)
Well, luckily—the faint highlight of a conspiracy theory is beginning to fade. This weekend is the Libertarian convention. So, if Monday’s news is not littered with reports of a Ron Paul third party candidacy—we’ve dodged that mythical bullet.
According to some correspondence with Libertarian Party insiders, Ron Paul would have to make his move in the next couple of days, collect his tokens (that’s how they vote), and then win the nomination Saturday. If not, they pick somebody else like Gary Johnson, and Ron is left to try to influence the GOP platform at the convention and leave the long term message tied to his son Rand.
I watched the Libertarian convention last year, and I assume it will be on CSPAN again this weekend. It is an interesting event to say the least. Check it out, and see if Mitt Romney clears his most immediate hurdle on the way to the White House. Conspiracy theorists unite!