Paul Supporters Could Tip Nevada to Obama

Cross-posted at The Electoral Map

An ongoing battle between the Nevada GOP brass and a fierce faction of Ron Paul loyalists could have major consequences in November: If the rift isn’t healed, the Paul supporters look like they’re poised to cast their ballots for a Paul as a write-in, or support Libertarian candidate Bob Barr or even throw their vote to Barack Obama out of spite for McCain.

The sour relations began at the state GOP convention when Paul supporters assembled a clear majority in the run-up to the vote to send delegates to the convention. Paul had finished in second place in the caucus, ahead of McCain, and their people thought that they should be well-represented in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

But the heads of the Nevada Republican Party, who are McCain allies, used parliamentary tactics to stall a vote and consequently ran out the clock. They decided that a state GOP committee, and not county delegates, would decide who went to the convention. The Paul people filed suit and lost, and vow to take their grievances to the Republican National Committee.

Even if they win, which appears unlikely, the damage has been done. According to this TIME article, it appears that the Paul supporters would rather vote for a ham sandwich than McCain. It’s not clear how large their faction is, but if it’s large enough to shave two or three points off of McCain’s tally in the state, it means that Obama could win Nevada’s five electoral votes with a plurality.

Bill Clinton won Nevada in 1992 with only 37 percent thanks to independent Ross Perot picking off 26 percent.

Paul and Perot share many similarities. Besides the fact that they’re both fiery Texans with bold views, they both espouse a distrust for the federal government and both command a loyal following. They also seem to win support in similar geographical areas.

If you look at the maps below of Ron Paul donations and Ross Perot performance during the 1992 campaign, Paul and Perot had their best success in Western state and in Nevada in particular.

Nevada is a tough state to analyze because so many of its voters are new transplants. But as the state grows and changes, one thing remains constant: It has a robust libertarian streak. Nevada’s DNA is rooted in libertarianism, from the anti-government and pro-gun lifestyle of the range to the prostitution, gambling and hedonism of Las Vegas.

This is prime Paul territory, and those Paul supporter will vote. The question, For who?


Ron Paul Donation in 2008 Q4

Ross Perot Performance in 1992

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I'm not sure it matters all that much

And by that I'm referring not only to the Ron Paul Revolutionaries in Nevada, but to all those who are planning on voting Libertarian or Constitution Party in any state.  There are those in the GOP who simply will not support McCain, and setting them a place at the table during the Convention would probably not change that fact. 

Of course it would be useful to have their votes, but I'm suggesting that if they don't vote for Barr, then they're probably planning on staying home along with all the conservatives who feel that the best way to teach the Republican Party a lesson is to detach and let it hit its virtual bottom.  Kind of like what you'd do with your alcoholic homeless meth-addled nephew pan-handling on the streets of Seattle for the summer.  Basically they see us as enablers, Patrick.  And in a way, perhaps we are.  I prefer to think we're not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water, myself.  But that's just me. 

With Barr and Paul in the mix

Obama picks up percentage points, because any votes going to those two certainly come out of McCain's.

Obama runs aginst one opponent, and McCain runs against three.  McCain has to defend both right and left flanks while Obama can concentrate on McCain.  Who came up with this great idea?  I'm not familiar with the processes that led to this, but it certainly seems like it could have been handled better, because I can't see it being handled any worse.

Ron Paul may do to the GOP in 2008 what Nader did to Gore in 2000.

Duh - Ron Paul is not on the genl election ballot

Maybe you meant LP candidate Barr.

In either case, this typical act of cutting your nose off to spite your face, that's puts purity ahead of pragmatism, will not do any good in the end. Did it do the LP party any good when their guy peeled enough votes from Slade Gorton that he lost to the liberal Democrat patty Murray? Someone explain to me what good was advanced by letting that lib Dem Fem airhead into the Senate?

I keep advising those on the right who are not turned on by the too-centrist McCain to focus on their favorite conservative candidates for Senate. In CO, we have Shaffer, in NM we have Steve Pearce. We also have the leftists trying to attack other conservatives in Congress, eg, going again after Marilyn Musgrave.

Going LP has been counterproductive and a failed strategy for years. Time to hang it up and try a new strategy. See:


Take it up with

Mr. Ottenhoff, whose claim about Ron Paul led to my comment.  He says Paul is a factor,  and I responded to his statement.

Ron Paul Won't Be A Spoiler

If Ron Paul had jumped parties, and ran on the Libertarian ticket, I could see him being a spoiler, drawing around 5%.  Since he's not on the ballot, his followers will probably even out across the spectrum, some for McCain, some for Obama, Nader and Barr.

If Ron Pauls's followers were sincere in his advocacy of less government, I can't see too many migrating to Obama or Nader,  but then again, a lot of his followers only cared about the Iraq war.

Anecdotally, the Ron Paul followers I know are all supporting McCain (begrudgingly), they feel Obama is a socialist.

I would like to have the Ron Paul people in our camp, I actually supported a lot of his platform, specifically his critiques of the federal reserve and fiat currency.  I would hope his followers could find common cause with the Republican Party, the party of smaller government.

Just the opposite

I actually think Paul would take more from Obama than McCain, or be neutral. Why?

--He's antiwar, anti-interventionist, blames America for world problems, opposes anti-terror laws (I think), and is against current free trade agreements... all of which puts him to closer to the Democrats.

--As pointed out earlier, most libertarians are supporting Obama rather than McCain.

--He attracted a lot of angry activists. Most angry activists are angry at Bush, Cheney, and the war (as opposed to, say, entitlement spending or poor monetay policy). They probably won't vote for McCain anyway. 

I'm inclined to agree with CJK

And posted a similar comment above.  I don't see these votes as McCain's in the first place, so I don't perceive a net loss there. My two robust Ron Paul/Austrian School of Economics buddies in San Diego wouldn't have voted for any other Republican candidate - not Mitt, not Mike, not McCain.  Only Ron Paul would do.  It's a pretty small sample, I admit, but it's all I have with which to judge the rest of the Ron Paul (and Bob Barr) faithful.