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Ron Paul a serious candidate concealed by media

By Sergio Goncalves
On September 1, 2011

With the 2012 Republican presidential primaries in full swing, the mainstream media has been generally focusing on candidates like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. But, there is one top-tier candidate that they have consistently either ignored or dismissed as unelectable: Texas congressman Ron Paul. I believe the marginalization of his campaign by many in the media is wholly unjustified as Paul is a serious candidate.

Fortunately, the media seems to be paying more attention to the Paul campaign lately, thanks in large part to comedian Jon Stewart. Recently, Stewart played clips of media personalities refusing to mention Paul when discussing polls but mentioning candidates who polled well below him, making on-air jokes about Paul and rolling their eyes at Paul as he spoke during Republican primary debates.

Stewart wondered aloud, "How did libertarian Ron Paul become the thirteenth floor in a hotel?"

Despite the increased mentions of Paul in the media, many media outlets still unfairly dismiss Paul's campaign as quixotic. They claim he is not in the race to win, but merely to advertise his libertarian ideas. For instance, Alex Altman of Time magazine states, "Paul isn't really running for president, at least not entirely." In addition, The Week magazine asserts that Paul cannot win and is only running in order to "persuade more Americans of the merits of libertarianism, and to wake them up to the ‘tyranny' of central government."

Although the opportunity to promote libertarianism is certainly one of the 12-term congressman's chief motives for seeking the presidency, it is hardly his only motive. He clearly also seeks victory, as evidenced by his recent decision not to seek reelection to Congress in order to focus on his presidential campaign.

Moreover, Paul is electable. His unique, refreshing ideas excite many ordinary Americans who are disillusioned with the similarities between President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush in such areas as civil liberties, foreign policy, and economic policy. More than any other Republican presidential candidate, Paul offers real change from the Bush-Obama status quo.

As Paul recently explained to ABC News, "I am the one that says, ‘War, there is too much of it.' They are undeclared. It's time to end war. I am the one that says, ‘I'm sick and tired of this Patriot Act – this pretence to destroy our individual liberties and molest us at the airport.' None of the other candidates are saying that." He continued, "How many of the other candidates are going to talk about the financial situation and tie it into the reality of the Federal Reserve? Those views are different from other views, and it's my strong defense of liberty that separates me from other candidates."

Furthermore, there is legitimate statistical backing for my assertion that Paul is electable. In the recent Ames, Iowa straw poll, Paul placed second with 27.65 percent of the vote. Michele Bachmann placed first, with 28.55 percent, beating Paul by merely 152 votes. Moreover, in an Aug. 24 Gallup poll, Paul placed third with 13 percent of the vote, behind Rick Perry (29 percent) and Mitt Romney (17 percent). Clearly, Paul can realistically win the Republican nomination.

As columnist Saul Relative notes, "If he can gain stronger support within his party while contenders like Bachmann and Texas governor Rick Perry continue to make gaffes and policy mistakes, he may find himself in a dead-heat tie in a race for the Republican nomination with Mitt Romney."

Perhaps most significantly, Paul has an excellent chance at defeating Obama in the general election. An Aug. 22 Gallup poll taken by a pool of registered voters shows that, if the general election were held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama and Ron Paul, Obama would receive 47 percent of the vote and Paul would receive 45 percent. Relative notes, "The margin of error for the survey was +/– four percent, which puts Paul within striking distance of victory if pitted against Obama in a national election." Additionally, among independent voters, Paul polls ahead of the President by three percentage points.

Tellingly, the same poll found that Bachmann would lose the general election to Obama by four points. Among independents, Obama bests Bachmann by six points. What also boosts his electability is that, unlike other candidates, Paul does not "flip-flop" on major issues.

In conclusion, the media should treat Ron Paul with more respect because he is a serious, electable candidate who is very much determined to win. 

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