Ron Paul’s call for third-party vote certain to deepen rift in state GOP

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, fresh from last week’s “Rally for the Republic” in Minneapolis, today urged those who reject the two major-party candidates to vote on principle for a third-party alternative.

Paul, who suspended his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in June, has said he definitely will not enter the race as a third-party candidate.

While Paul steadfastly refuses to endorse Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, his remarks today at a Washington, D.C., news conference overtly urged “principled non-voters” to send a message rejecting a two-party system that is essentially a one-party system that cannot bring about necessary change.

“For me, though, my advice — for what it’s worth — is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues,” Paul said in prepared remarks. “A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change rather than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.”

Paul’s position is likely to the further the divide between his supporters in Minnesota and GOP regulars. Characterizing themselves as “Ron Paul Republicans,” the congressman’s supporters have pointed to their intent to work within the Republican Party, influencing policy where they can and supporting candidates that support conservative Republican principles.

Nonetheless, the decision of six Minnesota GOP delegates to cast votes for Paul during the presidential roll call has not sat well with state GOP officials. Paul’s open support for a third-party vote of conscious will certainly deepen the divide.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Steve Richardson on 09/10/2008 - 02:41 pm.

    I’m a Minnesotan by birth and own property there as well, although I currently live in North Carolina.

    It surprised me that as the reason you stated for widening the rift between Goldwater/Ron Paul Republicans and the current leadership of the GOP in Minnesota, was the insistence of pledged delegates at the national convention on voting as they were pledged.

    Maybe I’m just getting old, but my recollection of the 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 GOP (and Democratic) national conventions, at least, was that delegates voted for whomever they were committed to, at least on the first ballot, and that the votes were tallied from there.

    If nobody won on that ballot, then usually delegates for the lower scoring candidates were free to vote as they wished, particularly if “released” by those to whom they were pledged.

    When did it become mandatory to deny one’s conscience and vote contrary to one’s preferences in order to be a “good” Republican (or Democrat)?

    The Bush years have not been kind to impulses of individual conscience and little-d democratic procedures in the USA.

    Barry Goldwater received 40-some votes on the final ballot in the 1960 GOP convention even though Nixon had the nomination all sewn up at that point. In 1964, Barry Goldater became the GOP nominee. Then in 1968 Nixon was the GOP nominee. Big tent, civility all around, nobody coercing anybody or suggesting they were disloyal.

    I liked the Republic a lot better than I like the Empire.

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