The bulk of what follows is a response I wrote to a post on DailyPaul.com. It has been slightly edited so as to stand alone better. Regarding the Ron Paul campaign, the poster asked, “Are we trying to WIN?”. The poster further suggested that since 79% of voters are in the age range 45-65+, someone should create a “very slick ad” to reach that audience.
What follows is my reply.
I’ve been analyzing Ron Paul’s campaigns for some time, and the facts suggest a reality that most Ron Paul supporters are too afraid to admit: America does not want Ron Paul. Now before you Ron Paul fans go nuts, you owe it to yourselves to hear me out.
For starters, I need to point out that there are indeed several deficiencies in the Ron Paul campaign, some of which could be easily fixed, and others of which would require some fundamental paradigm shifts. All that aside, however, the reality that so many fail to acknowledge–the biggest weakness of all in the Ron Paul campaign–is that it is relying on an intellectually-dysfunctional society to vote for it.
Naturally, in a popular election, one MUST rely on votes from the public; there is no other way (except fraud) to win. So in this sense, it doesn’t matter how good a candidate Dr. Paul may or may not be; all that matters is whether the intellectually-dysfunctional public can be persuaded to vote for him.
So what would THAT take? On his back-to-the-Constitution stance, you’d have to get Americans actually to READ the Constitution before they’ll “get” that. Good luck on this one. They like the idea, but they don’t understand it fundamentally enough to stand up and fight for it.
On his “libertarian” stance on issues of morality, you’d have to get Americans to go against what their churches have been telling them all their lives. Good luck on that.
On his foreign policy stance, you’d have to get Americans to go against the war-is-who-we-are mentality that has been programmed into them all their lives, at school, at church, in the National Anthem, in the news, and in history. Good luck on that.
In none of these matters do I mention the need to overcome the unfair media, for that is a secondary issue, however huge a challenge it may be. No, the fundamental here is the need to get an unthinking public to think.
It is at this juncture that I’ve witnessed a great many Ron Paul supporters make a fatal assumption:
“Oh, no, Jack. LOADS of people are waking up now. You’ll see!”
They assume that because they, themselves, are now more “awake” than they were before, we must, therefore, be practically just days away from some great, great portion of America also being “awake”. This notion, however, is soundly demolished by the actual evidence.
To keep it short, let’s examine only one statistic from the recent primaries. In Florida, 78% of those who voted chose either Romney or Gingrich. In Nevada, about 71% chose either Romney or Gingrich. In South Carolina, it was about 68% who chose either Romney or Gingrich.
So what’s the point? The point is that about 70-something percent of these voters are willing to support candidates that are not even remotely friendly to constitutional obedience, to sound money, to responsible peace, and to ending the reign of corruption in Washington.
Thus is the intellectual dysfunction proved.
And my greater point here? No “ad” is going to fix this. Nor will any mere presidential campaign. Indeed, you CANNOT win the presidency by violating the dull paradigms that the public holds so dear.
So what’s the solution?
Well, nobody wants to hear it, but the solution is quite obvious: change the paradigms of the public.
But that’s an entirely different project from running for president, and I don’t see one iota of energy being spent on it. Yes, LOTS of folks are going around declaring, “America is waking up”, but this is clearly wishful thinking. Whatever “waking up” that may ACTUALLY be happening is far too small in its scope to have any appreciable affect on any presidential race coming up anytime soon.
Not only is changing the public paradigm DIFFERENT from running for president, but it’s also probably three or four orders of magnitude more difficult. (1,000 or 10,000 times harder.)
What ad is going to achieve this?
Now, having said all that, I don’t mean to suggest that no new ads should be developed. What I am suggesting is that the campaign’s paradigm is far too short-sighted to appreciate the full scope of the problem they are hoping to solve. Some will say that winning the presidency is merely the “first step”, but I think I have demonstrated that you can’t win the presidency until you first win the public—which is the much greater task. Thus is the strategy backwards; the cart is before the horse, that is.
If somebody really wanted to win the Presidency right now, they’d hop into this race with the following message (which would certainly not be worded as I have worded it below—but you’ll get the point):
“I’m going to do practically everything that Ron Paul wants to do, except that I’m for KEEPING the unconstitutional federal laws against narcotics, and I’m for maintaining our military role as the world’s policeman. So don’t worry; under my leadership, we can still be the ‘Christian Nation’ you’ve grown up in, and we can still be the leader of the whole world, making it safe for democracy—and you’ll get to keep LOTS more of your own money.”
THAT message could persuade this intellectually-dysfunctional society. Strangely, nobody seems to have the political sense to adopt that message (whether sincerely or insincerely). And Ron Paul, of course, does not believe in such a stance, so it’s practically unimaginable (as well as undesirable) that he would adopt this alteration of his position.
Thus, the dilemma: should the focus be to win the presidency, or to affect a paradigm shift for the majority of the populace?
What is now being pursued is the lesser task (winning the presidency), and even so, the numbers so far are not showing much reason to expect a victory.
These are the facts, regardless of how disappointing they may be. I’m sure that a great many optimists out there are holding out hope that while over 70% who voted so far are intellectually dysfunctional, better things await in the states yet to vote. Hope springs eternal, as they say, but I see little rational support for such hope. And there’s no need to argue about it, for we will know soon enough.
As I put it elsewhere, it’s time to take this nation by the lapels and to dare to talk some sense into it. This is far different from the strategy that says, “I’m just going to let my little light shine so that others will be drawn to me.” No, this is MUCH more direct and proactive. And it will never be affective if seen only on television; it must happen face to face, person to person. Why? Almost 100% of the people are much too dull to revise their own philosophies without being personally confronted on the need to do so.
As it is, however, America simply does not want Ron Paul. And there’s your problem.