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.