Why do young people support Ron Paul?By Rich Robinson | 02/08/2012 11:07pm
If Ron Paul were to be elected President, he would be the oldest in history. At 76, the long-serving Congressman from Texas is not given much of a shot by the national media to win the Republican nomination. Many believe that he has been mocked and ignored by the GOP and by certain news outlets.
That hasn't stopped Paul’s army of young volunteers and supporters across the country and here at the Capstone, though.
Ethan Frazier, a senior majoring in finance, said he has been interested in politics for many years. His freshman year, he considered himself a lockstep member of the Republican establishment. He supported John McCain in the 2008 primary and did not take much notice of the squeaky-voiced Texan. Then, he said something changed; he had a Libertarian epiphany.
“I realized that Ron Paul’s the only one whose ideas made sense and whose solutions were going to actually work.” Frazier said. “He is the only one that could balance the budget and significantly reduce taxes.”
Rebecca Steadman, a freshman majoring in international relations, had different reasons for supporting the Texan presidential hopeful.
“The biggest reason for my support is his foreign policy and his lack of want to intervene in everything around the world,” Steadman said. “Everybody says he’s an isolationist, but I don’t think that’s the case.”
Luke Netjes, a junior majoring in political science, also supports Paul.
“On the surface, this may seem bizarre," Netjes said. "But when you realize that young people have the most to lose if the government continues to operate in its current destructive manner, it makes sense that they are the ones seeking answers from outside of the political mainstream.”
Frazier said he was surprised that Paul has received so much support from young people, but theorized it was because of the potential for a nationwide ideological charge that Paul embodies.
"There is a lot of hope with young people, and there are a lot of educated people who are passionate about libertarianism,” Frazier said. “I think the reason people attach themselves to his campaign so quickly is because he is the most consistent.”
Michael Annes, a sophomore majoring in mathematics, supported Barack Obama in 2008. His support has shifted, though, and Annes said he thinks Paul is the only candidate with a serious, specific plan to fix the deficit young people will have to pay back in the future.
One big question in the self-described "Ron Paul Revolution” is what happens if Paul loses the nomination.
Frazier said he does not want him to run as a third party candidate but would support him if he did.
Netjes said he would also support him on such a ticket but believes that Paul would probably not choose that path due to the chance of a negative impact on the political future of his son, Rand.
Rand Paul is a junior senator from Kentucky. Many supporters of Ron Paul believe Rand is the future of their movement and do not want to ruin his chances at a future run at the White House.
“I think his son, Rand, is going to run in 2016, and I believe that the establishment Republican Party would try to sabotage his campaign if that happened,” said Frazier. “He absolutely shares the same vision for America as his father does.”
No matter what the future holds for the Paul brand of politics, there is no doubt that his “campaign for liberty” has impacted students at the University.
“I’ll still be writing him in," said Frazier. "It’s more about the message than it is about winning.”