Marginalizing Ron Paul — He Wins AND Loses


Tony Silva

QuiverDaddy has complained loud and often about the media’s assumptions of who is entitled to the name, “frontrunner”.  Fox News commentator, Bill O’Reilley, for example has repeatedly stated that Herman Cain and Ron Paul do not matter, dropping both from the results of his online poll in order to give the impression that the GOP rank and file prefer Mitt Romney or Rick Perry.

Both Paul and Cain are viewed by the Establishment as “fringe” candidates.   Ron Paul because of his isolationist views, hostility toward Israel and his desire to legalize heroine, among other things, and Herman Cain because he is the current favorite of the TEA Party.  When they came in first and second respectively at the Values Voter straw poll Saturday, FoxNews again stated that Ron Paul’s 37% of the vote did not count because his supporters go from straw poll to straw poll and artificially increase his numbers.  This time, they did not question Herman Cain’s showing, given his meteoric rise in more scientific surveys. 

No doubt, Ron Paul’s very vocal and fiercely loyal minority of young voters do influence online polls where they have been organized through social media for half of his perennial presidential run.   However, poll tampering is not a fair charge for the media to level against him in actual straw polls.

FoxNews has not presented any credible sourcing to support the charge that Ron Paul has artificially increased his numbers any more than the wealthier “mainstream” RINOS who buy votes at straw poll events and hire people to cast them.  Such tampering was uncovered in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, and it is almost part of the tradition — done to “prove a candidate’s organizational ability”.  Since that is within the rules of the event, there s nothing wrong with campaigns showing their organizational strength by purchasing votes.  However, the fact that a fringe candidate like Ron Paul consistently does well among his following should not be discounted, regardless of what the Commentariat may think about him. There is something unforgivably un-American about tampering with polls; there is also something un-American about discounting poll results altogether without benefit of some proof.

We call on FoxNews and other outlets who are dropping candidates from polling results or qualifying their showing in these polls to prove their case.   Show how Ron Paul’s people have somehow tainted the results in any way that is not open to all of the other candidates.  We are under no illusion that Dr. Paul has a chance of actually winning, but that is not our choice to make.   We do the country no service by censoring poll results when they do not measure up to our idea of what the electorate should be thinking.
Straw polls by their very nature are not going to match national scientific polls.  However, as has been shown by Herman Cain’s rapid rise to the front of the pack, they may be early indicators of what people may be thinking. We should give serious thought to the possibility that the generation who will be called upon to clean up Obama’s economic mess may not share the same moral views of Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum.  For them, a candidate who represents a world view free of individual restraints might make sense.  As a Libertarian dressed as a Republican, Ron Paul can be an attractive alternative to more voters than the media elites, suffocating in their Beltway bubble realize. 

Bill O’Reilley and FoxNews may not like the implications, but it is not wise to assume that all of Ron Paul’s support is somehow “artificial” or “inflated”.   The question is, whether Dr. Paul’s straw poll showings would still be strong apart from the camp followers who trail him like a pack of Grateful Dead groupies.  If the media are surprised by Herman Cain’s strong showing, what will they do when Ron Paul shows up in Tampa with enough delegates to make trouble in a brokered convention.

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Written by Tony Silva

A 21 year army veteran, Tony Silva is a freelance writer and political commentator. He is founder and senior editor of BlameCast.com.

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