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NY Times: Rand Paul Needs More Than Libertarians To Win

Image: NY Times: Rand Paul Needs More Than Libertarians To Win
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By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 03:08 PM

Sen. Rand Paul will need to appeal to far more voters than the libertarian-leaning side of the Republican party and attract mainstream members if he expects to win the GOP nomination in 2016.

There are still far too few libertarians to mount a serious party challenge for the presidency, a New York Times analysis said Wednesday, and many voters who say they are libertarian are often people who don't cast votes, spelling trouble for the Kentucky Republican if he doesn't swing others to his side.

In fact, many people who describe themselves as libertarians actually hold views that are much like the public's views, with the term becoming more like a description for "liberal millennials" who are skeptical of regulations, and for conservatives who want to show socially acceptable views about issues such as homosexuality, the Times says.

But such people don't necessarily follow the libertarian beliefs, says Times writer Nate Cohn, which push for a flat tax, a return to the gold standard, and other issues not typically backed by mainstream Republicans.

Further, just few Republicans consistently agree with Paul, according to a 2014 Pew Research survey which also determined that many liberal views can prevail when liberal and libertarian views conflict on subjects such as constitutional interpretation and gun control.

As a result, many voters who identify themselves as libertarians actually have viewpoints more like those of socially moderate Republicans.

And then there are the numbers. According to the Pew survey, a full two-thirds of people who lean Republican disagree with the libertarian viewpoints on most key issues. Paul has also already gotten a reputation for supporting isolationism, which could haunt as world events heat up.

A CBS news poll in March revealed that 61 percent of Republicans said they could not vote in a candidate who does not agree with them on how to deal with the Islamic State (ISIS), and Paul's other views on subjects like sentencing for drug offenders could cost him votes among the more conservative members of the party.

And such a controlled campaign, writes Cohn, may not attract libertarians like those who lined up to vote for his father, Ron Paul, a frequent presidential candidate himself.

The age and mindset of the typical American voter may also work against the younger Paul. Most of his father's strongest support came from young voters, ages 18 to 34, many of whom often don't cast ballots in primary elections.

The first two primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are states where Paul's father did well, and could bode well for the Kentucky senator as well heading into a national campaign promising a wide slate of candidates.

"But mobilizing the coalition necessary to win either state, and remaining a broadly acceptable candidate that the rest of the party wouldn't unify against, will require a delicate act that has never been pulled off," Cohn concludes.

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Sen. Rand Paul will need to appeal to far more voters than the libertarian-leaning side of the Republican party and attract mainstream members if he expects to win the GOP nomination in 2016.
Rand Paul, Republicans, libertarians
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2015-08-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 03:08 PM
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