Inspired by Ron Paul, local political activists are getting their hands dirty by running for office themselves. From Business Week:
If forcing his philosophy into the mainstream is the benchmark, Paul can claim victory. Listening to his rivals in the Republican debates demand that the Fed be audited and the Departments of Energy and Education be shuttered, it’s clear that many of Paul’s positions, once considered extreme, are now Republican talking points. Paul’s influence outweighs his low poll rankings and back-of-the-pack primary returns.
“Our time has come,” says Paul, tempering the display of optimism. “It’s still going to be a knock-down, dragged-out fight.”
Paul leaves behind a small army of brawlers itching to take up the battle in his name. This election year, at least 65 of his supporters are campaigning for local, state, or national office in 23 states. They join more than a dozen Paul acolytes who won elections in 2010, including Republican Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who is seeking a second term — not to mention Paul’s son Rand, who was elected to the Senate as a Republican in Kentucky.
[…] Other Paul followers and former aides have maneuvered their way into Republican Party leadership positions in Nevada, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, and Maine, where they are attempting to rewrite party platforms and keep establishment Republicans from giving Paul’s 70-plus primary delegates to Mitt Romney.
Usually, “when a candidate drops out, the followers go too,” says Aaron Libby, a 29-year-old Maine blueberry farmer and Paul die-hard who was elected to the state legislature in 2010. “They were following a candidate; we are following a movement.”
In Virginia, Karen Kwiatkowski is running as a Republican (she goes by Karen K for anyone who can’t handle her mouthful of a last name). She’s one of the candidates named in the article and has a well-conceived website where she follows up, saying “It’s about Ron Paul’s ideas, and who wouldn’t want to strip a trillion dollars from the federal budget and balance the thing in less than 4 years! Who wouldn’t want more constitutionally limited government?”
What other presidential hopeful has engendered the same mass reaction from their supporters?
Many of Ron Paul’s supporters are loyal to the libertarian principles, thankfully to the point that they’ll get on the ballot themselves. Unfortunately few of them will be able to run a full-time campaign that can mobilize voters and bring in funds like the seasoned professionals interested more in maintaining the status quo. This balance will surely shift as Paul’s loyalists gain momentum.
Should the Ron Paul electoral wave of 2012 manage to push a few idealistic freshmen congressmen and women into power, they would be smart not to forget what “public servant” means.