Candidate Ron Paul has more delegates than anyone guessed he would or could have. And he might earn many more this summer. Win or lose, he will go to the Republican National Convention, and neither Mitt Romney nor anyone else can ignore him.
The Ron Paul Stealth Campaign
Ron Paul has always had a cadre of supporters who have dedicated themselves only to him. These supporters are not “conservative” in the usual sense. They are libertarians. So, too, is Ron Paul himself. This page at OnTheIssues.org lists every place where Ron Paul stands on every issue today. Some might look “liberal” to a not-careful observer. Some look “conservative.” And some are well and truly radical, in the literal sense of that word. Ron Paul wants to tear out certain American institutions by their roots (Latin radix, radicis a root), because he holds them the greatest threats to human liberty. The Federal Reserve is his un-favorite bête-noire.
Ron Paul cannot explain, in thirty-second sound bites, why and how his radical plans would work better for the American people than the institutions he fights. He, and those who support him, know this. They also have run their campaign on a shoestring budget that simply does not allow the kind of advertising that a Mitt Romney could run. (Rick Santorum quit the race for that reason: he couldn’t raise the money.)
So Ron Paul decided to concentrate on States that chose their delegates in caucus, not in binding winner-take-all primaries. Thus far, The New York Timesshows Mitt Romney leading with over 600 delegates, and Ron Paul with only 52. Two things are wrong with those numbers:
They show only the delegates that State parties say they have assigned thus far. Many of those States still haven’t allocated all their delegates.
The tallies that some State Republican authorities have released, are only guesses. As such they might be false or misleading.
Here’s why. The primaries in most States (other than Florida and other “winner-take-all” States) are mere beauty contests. After the primaries ended, the real work of choosing county delegates to State conventions began. So while supporters of other candidates left the room, not wanting to stay up all night to discuss “boring Party business,” the Ron Paul cadres stayed on. Under the rules, he who stays, votes. He who does not stay, may not vote, not even by proxy.
Ron Paul gets results
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14). Photo: US House of Representatives
Over the weekend, reports came in from Examiner.com (Wilmington, DE and their National edition). They showed Ron Paul winning delegates in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota that everyone thought would go to Romney or Santorum. Santorum then quit the race last week, and never said how he expected “his” delegates to vote. The two Examiners seemed to think that many of them would vote for Ron Paul and not for Mitt Romney. In any event, Ron Paul knew that caucuses would select delegates, because primaries were non-binding. Not only are those primaries non-binding; they have no influence on what caucuses do.
The Colorado results are most interesting. Caucuses chose 36 delegates. Sources did not seem to agree on how they would vote. But those who investigated the matter closely, realized what had happened. RealClearPolitics, for instance, says that Mitt Romney had the most delegates. In fact, he “won” 13 delegates, against 6 for Santorum. The caucuses chose 17 others who did not pledge their votes. But where do their loyalties lie? Tom Mullen at The Washington Timesthinks he knows. Todd King of Lewis, CO, one of those “unpledged” delegates, told Mr. Mullen this:
13 unpledged delegates, including me, will vote for Ron Paul on the first ballot. One unpledged delegate will vote for Santorum. The remaining three unpledged delegates, also known as the ‘delegates at large,’ are the state GOP Chairman, the state GOP National Committeeman and the National Committeewoman. Those three will likely vote for Romney. They usually vote for the frontrunner so as not to make waves.
So Ron Paul can count on as many delegate votes as Mitt Romney can, or almost as many, depending on how the super-delegates vote.
Missouri Republicans changed their caucus rules, under pressure from many who felt that the Republican “establishment” wanted them to shut-up and let them do things their way. Ron Paul hopes to “dominate” in Missouri when Republican voters there meet in caucus this Saturday and in June.
The Ron Paul campaign flatly disputes the AP/New York Times delegate tally. In March they showed the true delegate strength as:
Mitt Romney: 425
Rick Santorum: 361
Ron Paul: 225
Newt Gingrich: 165
One commenter on that page explained how Ron Paul’s supporters get delegates:
This isn’t for sissies. You have to go to the meetings, meet people and tell them your name so they’ll remember you when it comes time to vote in delegates, etc. And frankly, it’s boring. I listened to a long speech tonight and there were a million other things I would’ve rather been doing (like reading on here or griping with my RP friends on Facebook).
If those who support the other three candidates are less willing to listen to “boring…long speech[es]” and forgo their “million other things [they'd] rather [do],” then of course they’re losing delegates. They leave the field to Ron Paul.
Ron Paul’s supporters have always made fun of those who dismiss Ron Paul and his campaign too soon. They might be correct. For centuries English speakers have warned one another:
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Has the Republican National Committee made that mistake? Maybe.