Photo: Kristen Smith
It’s hard to believe it is that time again — campaign season.
One candidate who is popping up again from the 2008 presidential election is Ron Paul, a registered Republican who flies under the libertarian banner. Paul has become a favorite amongst students on the Drake University campus and across the states.
“I don’t just like him; I absolutely love him,” sophomore Benjamin Levine said.
Rachel Caufield, associate professor of politics and international relations, said she is not that surprised that students are supporting Paul.
“I think Ron Paul is refreshing, and as a libertarian he’s probably more in-line with young people,” Caufield said.
The Texas congressman is an advocate for a limited, constitutional government, for a free market and for lowering taxes. Paul tends to vote liberal on social issues such as the legalization of marijuana and personal liberty issues, but he is more conservative on fiscal issues such as his campaign, “End the Fed.”
Recently, Paul came in a close second place in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll behind Michele Bachmann. Though Paul has a well-built group of followers, many are questioning why the media is downplaying his campaign.
“Ron Paul wouldn’t be my first choice for president,” junior Sean Walsh said. “I do think it’s curious and unfair that some candidates that are doing much worse than him in the polls get more media attention that he does.”
So what exactly is it about Paul that is capturing the youth of America?
“They see him as this revolutionary figure who is running this unpopular message,” Caufield said.
Levine said he supports Paul because he touches on subjects other candidates try to avoid.
“I was drawn to Ron Paul because of his ideology and principles,” Levine said. “He is the only candidate, by far, that is speaking about issues that truly matter in a substantive form. The corrupt system of the Federal Reserve, for example, is Ron Paul’s issue.”
While Paul has some strong supporters for his campaign, others don’t feel he is a suitable candidate — junior Casey Erixon, is one of those students.
“He has no respect for the realities of our position in the world, and the responsibilities of governing, isolationism and bare-bones government may theoretically be great ideas,” Erixon said, “but in the real world we have a duty to the people of this country and the people of the world to ensure a fair playing field and show global leadership,”
Drake will launch a chapter for the Students for Ron Paul organization in the near future. In less than eight months, SFP has established over 500 college and high school chapters in all 50 states. SFP had also recruited over 26,000 students to join the Ron Paul 2008 campaign.
“I think that Obama will not be able to hang on to that enthusiasm of the young people because of what’s happened in the last couple years,” Paul said after his exploratory committee was announced.
Views are mixed on whether or not Paul will get the nomination for the Republican Party. Some voters believe he is the ideal candidate and will go on to win the 2012 election, while others don’t think he is a serious enough candidate to be considered.
Levine believes Paul can win the nomination and eventually the election.
“Although the media downplays Paul’s campaign and how truly powerful it is, I honestly believe he can win,” Levine said. “Will it be easy? No. But nothing worth gaining is ever easy.”
For more information on Ron Paul and the Ron Paul 2012 campaign visit RonPaul.com or RonPaul2012.com
Brief Overview of Congressman Ron Paul’s Record
• He has never voted to raise taxes.
• He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
• He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
• He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
• He has never taken a government-paid junket.
• He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
• He voted against the Patriot Act.
• He voted against regulating the Internet.
• He voted against the Iraq War.
• He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
• He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. Treasury every year.