Press "Enter" to skip to content

Budowsky:”Ron Paul should run for president as a third-party candidate”

Brent Budowsky at The Hill looks at the options for 2012 and concludes that there is “a humongous opening for Dr. Ron Paul to run as a third-party candidate.”

Suggesting that the most likely Republican nominee will be Mitt Romney, who is not trusted by conservatives. This leads to an observation many might agree with:

Ron Paul would pick up significant new support running against two establishment figures such as Obama and Romney. He would win support from a wide tier of voters who would see Romney as a distrusted, establishment, old-Wall Street and banking country-club Republican. Romney is exactly the kind of Republican the legitimate Tea Party voters, true conservatives and genuine libertarians oppose as the dominating influence on the Republican Party.

Brent Budowsky has not always been this favorable to Ron Paul, but his column is worth a read @ http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/190423-ron-paul-should-run-for-president-as-a-third-party-candidate

About Post Author

Gene Berkman

Owner of Renaissance Books in Riverside, CA. Longtime activist in The Libertarian Movement

36 Comments

  1. Dave Dave October 28, 2011

    I’ve never really thought Paul would run third party before, given both his desire to keep his committees in the house and not wanting to put Rand in an awkward position. But he’s retiring, which removes one incentive for him not to do it. As for Rand, I think it might help him with conservative voters if he endorses his father over someone like Mitt Romney( not to mention boost his cred somewhat with Ron’s supporters, who are rather mixed on him. Full disclosure, I like them both, but greatly prefer Ron.)

    Honestly I kind of think he might do it this time. The media blackout seems to disturb him, and he might find our problems so severe that he feels obligated to throw his hat in the ring. Not sure how well he’d do, but I could see him getting a Perot 96 like number, and maybe surpassing that if he’s allowed in the debates.

  2. George Whitfield George Whitfield October 29, 2011

    If Ron Paul runs as a third party candidate he will have my full support.

  3. paulie paulie October 29, 2011

    That would certainly make things interesting.

    Now, to make it even more interesting, suppose that Gary Johnson agreed to run as a Libertarian, and Paul decided to run as an independent or as a Constitution Party candidate.

    Would you support NOTA over Johnson for the LP nomination at that point?

  4. NewFederalist NewFederalist October 29, 2011

    Perhaps Ron Paul and Gary Johnson could be persuaded to run as a ticket… on whatever party or parties.

  5. Mullet Over Mullet Over October 29, 2011

    Well, Johnson probably would go for it. Dunno about Paul.

    But what would you do in the scenario @4 if you were a delegate to the LP national convention?

  6. NewFederalist NewFederalist October 29, 2011

    In paulie’s scenario @4 I would still nominate Johnson. I just could not pass up the opportunity to nominate a former governor who shares many core values with the LP.

  7. George Phillies George Phillies October 29, 2011

    Johnson: Let him come across first and run in 2016.

  8. paulie paulie October 30, 2011

    Perhaps Ron Paul and Gary Johnson could be persuaded to run as a ticket… on whatever party or parties.

    Libertarian would be the obvious choice if that were to happen.

  9. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi October 30, 2011

    10 p, as you know, I’d been advocating Paul/Johnson for quite some time. I may be overreacting, but the LPO situation is the sort of dysfunction that both Paul and Johnson have some experience with, and lead them to conclude that the LP is a sub-optimal vehicle for them, should they wish to pursue such a run.

  10. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 30, 2011

    Yes, I think you are overreaching.

    Obviously, the Oregon mess is dysfunctional, as has been in my opinion much of what the LNC has done about it so far.

    However, what’s the worst that can happen?

    If the Wagner group is not allowed to pick the delegates to the national convention, and they continue to be the group recognized by the state, the LNC might have to petition for ballot access in Oregon. If Paul, Johnson or especially both of them show any interest in being anywhere on the LP ticket, that should be a breeze. Even if they won’t, the LNC/HQ should be able to manage it without too much trouble; it’s not the hardest petition drive they have to do over the next 10 months by any stretch.

    Supposing Paul and/or Johnson decide to buck the GOP, what are their options other than the LP?

    There’s America’s Elect. In theory, they will nominate whoever gets the most online votes, which sounds like an ideal setup for Ron Paul fans – they know how to dominate internet polls if nothing else. However, behind the scenes is big money that is being spent to create a big business friendly “centrist” ticket. I think that they will find ways to keep libertarians and constitutionalists from hijacking “their” process, even though I’m not sure what the exact means will be. Also, even if Paul is permitted to take their nomination, their rules say that the VP has to be from a different party, most likely a Democrat.

    Paul could conceivably be a Constitution Party candidate, but they have limited ballot access, and I really doubt they would consider Johnson for VP or anything else.

    Finally, they could petition from scratch as independents. That will eat up a tremendous amount of resources, especially with Americans Elect petitioning all over the country, plus other parties and state initiatives. The likelihood of failing to make the ballot in some states will be a lot higher if they go that route than if they go LP.

    And if you are even tempted to believe that they will get on the ballot with volunteers, just remember that Paul had to pay just to get on the ballot in Republican primaries in 2008, despite all his fans, and that is a lot easier than getting on all the state ballots as an independent. Chances are he will have to pay again this year. Johnson will certainly have to pay, if he can even manage to do it, which he may not.

    The LP would certainly not turn them down (even if George Phillies eats his hat), and already has 29 states in the bag – perhaps 40 by the time of the nominating convention.

    What’s a little food fight in Oregon compared with 30-40 states of ballot access?

  11. john c jackson john c jackson October 30, 2011

    I don’t think Ron Paul likes Johnson that much. Unless I read wrong or it was reported wrong, I believe they had a meeting or talk before Johnson decided to run this year. I got the impression johnson wanted paul to step aside..while Paul obviously was planning to run again. Personally, I prefer Johnson, but Paul is a lot more popular. Paul doesn’t need Johnson, and I don’t think Johnson would do much for Paul as a VP candidate. I could think of some VP picks that could alienate voters but i’m having a hard time thinking of any that could really help if either of those guys runs as a 3rd party. if it’s a “serious” run to try to win and/or receive as many votes as possible, the ticket would/should include 2 guys that don;t completely overlap the support of one another, and it would probably make little sense to use the LP or CP, IMHO.

  12. john c jackson john c jackson October 30, 2011

    As far as the LP specifically, I don’t see either Paul or Johnson being that interested in building the LP and running a campaign that benefits the LP with no likelihood of winning and/or increasing his own legacy.

  13. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 30, 2011

    What exactly do you think they would gain by not running LP that would be worth spending millions of dollars on ballot access and risking possible failure in some states?

  14. NewFederalist NewFederalist October 30, 2011

    If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are not on friendly terms and don’t make sense as a ticket I was unaware of it. If this is the case I would be happy to substitute Judge Andrew Napolitano for Gov. Johnson as a running mate for Dr. Paul. This is Ron Paul’s last hurrah. He has to make it a good one.

  15. NewFederalist NewFederalist October 30, 2011

    As for the comment @ #14 above… I am very sympathetic to the LP but it is a lost cause. I am much more interested in actually winning an election in 2012 and saving our country (if it isn’t already too late). The LP has had 40 years to prove itself and all it has done is bicker internally and fracture itself into the same historical meaninglessness as the Prohibition Party without the benefit of ever actually electing anyone to Congress or a governorship.

  16. john c jackson john c jackson October 30, 2011

    I am a Libertarian, but I think the LP is a bad brand for a serious national campaign. Also a lot of Ron Paul supporters hate Libertarians. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a nice chunk of libertarian/Libertarian support.. and I guess I can’t say how representative online message boards are, but based on my interactions with Ron paul supporters a lot of them are former ( and “never going back”) LPers who complain about the libertarian aspects of the LP and ultra-“conservative” theocratic Christian Reconstructionists, assorted other “real conservatives” who constantly praise pat Buchanan and David Duke. They also talk about how to deal with the “libertarian problem”, complaining whenever the media refers to Ron Paul as a libertarian. They are much more comfortable being associated with David Duke than being mistakenly associated with libertines and/or self-identified (non?) libertarians like Bill Maher. They ( still) rant and rave about the evil Kochtupus, have conspiracy theories about every favorable media mention. They see libertarian as highly pejorative.

    Then you have the fact that Ron Paul can raise in a single day or weekend more than the LP or an LP POTUS candidate can raise in an entire election cycle. What does the LP spend on ballot access? One money bomb takes care of that. Another money bomb raises more than the total budget of any LP campaign in recent history.

    I realize I spent all that time saying why Paul might not want the LP line, but as a Libertarian I should also make it clear ( and for some of the same reasons) that the LP should not want him, either. What would Paul do for the LP? Associate us with The Ron Paul Associates newsletters, Stormfront, Pat Buchanan, various anti-liberty ‘true conservatives”? For a 1 year bump in the polls? Did anyone notice the Reform party after Perot left? Is the Ron Paul campaign any less of a personality cult? I know HE says it’s more about the ideas than the man, and maybe he’s genuine.. but I don’t see that with a lot of his support. Besides, he has the C4L and the whole Rand Paul Tea Party GOP takeover thing going on. If he wanted to help build the LP he would have.

    The fact is, no one running on the LP ticket in 2012 is going to be elected President. Ron Paul is not going to be elected president, and he’s not going to win the GOP nomination. If he wants to keep on running to keep raising money and possibly get a couple % in the general election, he can run 3rd party.. But why would he, and why would the LP want him to? if I’m the LP and I’m interested in building the party and improving the image, I’m going to run someone who is comfortable being a Libertarian in 2012. Not a Constitutional Conservative looking to Restore the GOP.

  17. john c jackson john c jackson October 30, 2011

    Add to that, Paul doesn’t need to run as LP to get support from LP voters. He probably already has what he is going to get there. He gets more political mileage and $$$$ from playing in/across the various niches of libertarianism, Constitutionalism, paleoism, anti-war, pro-pot, and so on- while winking a little at each group and personally sympathizing with some while trying to corral all under some “State’s Rights” program. It doesn’t do him any good to commit to a narrow idea of a minor political party that has a much smaller base than the overall idea of independents and disaffected liberals and old school conservatives.

  18. john c jackson john c jackson October 30, 2011

    That said, I think Johnson might be a better fit for the LP, for many of those reasons. I think he would fit in with the LP with a little higher profile but without the disparity of support/resources and potential for disruption/setbacks.

  19. Andy Andy October 31, 2011

    “Also a lot of Ron Paul supporters hate Libertarians.”

    Where in the hell do you come up with this? I’ve been to numerous Ron Paul Meet Ups, Campaign for Liberty meetings, End the Fed rallies, and even a few Ron Paul speeches, and just about everyone I ran into at these meetings/events had positive things to say about Libertarians. I’ve gathered petition signatures for Libertarian Party candidates at several of these meetings/events and just about everyone at them signed the petitions enthusiastically.

    After speaking to thousands of Ron Paul supporters, I only found a very tiny minority (in the low single digits as a percent) that were negative towards the Libertarian Party. These few people fell into two categories:

    1) They believed that using any other vehicle than the Republican Party running candidates was a waste of time, or,

    2) They were Constitution Party die hards.

    However, I should point out that the majority of those who were Republicans or with the Constitution Party still liked the Libertarian Party, it was only a tiny percentage that refused to sign the Libertarian Party petition or had anything negative to say.

    So I don’t know where in the hell you come up with this notion that most Ron Paul supporters hate the Libertarian Party, because I found just the opposite.

  20. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson October 31, 2011

    re 18 to follow up on what Andy ask, but based on my interactions with Ron paul supporters a lot of them are former ( and “never going back”) LPers who complain about the libertarian aspects of the LP and ultra-”conservative” theocratic Christian Reconstructionists, assorted other “real conservatives” who constantly praise pat Buchanan and David Duke. I have never run into anyone such as described here. maybe I lead a sheltered life.

  21. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    I am very sympathetic to the LP but it is a lost cause. I am much more interested in actually winning an election in 2012 and saving our country (if it isn’t already too late). The LP has had 40 years to prove itself and all it has done is bicker internally and fracture itself into the same historical meaninglessness as the Prohibition Party without the benefit of ever actually electing anyone to Congress or a governorship.

    That is basically irrelevant. The number of people who are aware of such things is miniscule.

    If Paul runs LP again at this point, he will define the LP; the pre-existing LP will not define him and will not hold him back in any way.

    It is simply a vehicle for ballot access. 30-40 states of access is nothing to sneeze at, especially when the few existing experienced petitioners who still want to be in that line of work will be busy on many other projects. Training new ones on short notice, particularly in multiple states at once is a major logistical nightmare.

    Even with all the money Ron Paul has, he can’t win a bidding war with Americans Elect. In some states he may be able to piggyback, but in others it is against state law. And that’s if AE does not attempt to stymy any piggyback attempts, which could well happen.

    Ballot access would be a much bigger deal than some of you even begin to realize.

    And as for any issues with the pre-existing LP, forget about it. For 99 point something percent of the voters the LP would be Ron Paul and nothing else, until they see some other names they don’t know on the ballot as LP, assume they are Paul clones and either vote for them or not depending on whether they like Paul.

  22. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    As far as the LP specifically, I don’t see either Paul or Johnson being that interested in building the LP and running a campaign that benefits the LP with no likelihood of winning and/or increasing his own legacy

    You are probably correct, but that is irrelevant.

    It’s not about what they can do for the LP, it’s about what the LP can do for them and that is ballot access. In a normal year that would be worth several million.
    Even when you have tens of millions that is significant money. And this is not a normal year, with AE being thrown into the mix to make things more complicated.

    It is quite possible that even if tens of millions are spent on ballot access there would still be failures in some states that could be avoided by simply accepting the LP nomination.

    Whether that would help the LP afterwards is irrelevant. Why? Because no one will stop them from having the nomination if they want it. Therefore, whatever consequences ensue, good or bad, will happen whether you think they will be good or not.

  23. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    I am a Libertarian, but I think the LP is a bad brand for a serious national campaign.

    There is NO LP brand to speak of. If Paul or perhaps even Johnson runs LP they define the brand, not the other way around.

    Also a lot of Ron Paul supporters hate Libertarians.

    I don’t know what you think “a lot” is but it’s a tiny percentage. For the vast majority of Paul supporters (as well as non-supporters) it already means “someone like Ron Paul” if it means anything at all.

    I’m not saying he doesn’t have a nice chunk of libertarian/Libertarian support.. and I guess I can’t say how representative online message boards are,

    Not very. Trolls and shills with agendas and inordinate amounts of time on their hands are far more prevalent on the net than off the net. You will rarely find many of them doing much of anything offline since they rarely get too far from a computer. And regular people who actually have lives and do things in the real world do not have a lot of time to read much less debate their endless repetitious musings.

    but based on my interactions with Ron paul supporters a lot of them are former ( and “never going back”) LPers who complain about the libertarian aspects of the LP and ultra-”conservative” theocratic Christian Reconstructionists, assorted other “real conservatives” who constantly praise pat Buchanan and David Duke. They also talk about how to deal with the “libertarian problem”, complaining whenever the media refers to Ron Paul as a libertarian. They are much more comfortable being associated with David Duke than being mistakenly associated with libertines and/or self-identified (non?) libertarians like Bill Maher. They ( still) rant and rave about the evil Kochtupus, have conspiracy theories about every favorable media mention. They see libertarian as highly pejorative.

    The people you speak of are a very tiny subset of Ron Paul supporters. Andy and MHW (21-22) are talking about a much larger percentage of Ron Paul supporters.

    These are people who know little or nothing of the inner workings or history of the LP. They see “libertarian” as being like Ron Paul and they see Ron Paul in a way that most of us would regard as being libertarian. They may be vaguely aware that he has run LP in the past, or not.

    If you are relying on internet boards for your information you are being misled.

    For example if all you had to go by was IPR comments you might think that Phillies is a major player in the LP and speaks for many or maybe even most LP members, rather than a guy who consistently gets about 5-10% whenever he runs for chair or president.

    The David Duke trolls on Ron Paul forums are about as representative of the larger base of support for Dr. Paul as Robert Milnes is of the LP. Most of them are losers with no lives who displace their personal lack of success into feelings of racial resentment, and their inferiority complexes into myths of racial supremacy. Chances are that 90% have no jobs (especially not much above minimum wage) and no sexual partners other than themselves.

    That may be an exageration but not by much.

  24. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    Then you have the fact that Ron Paul can raise in a single day or weekend more than the LP or an LP POTUS candidate can raise in an entire election cycle. What does the LP spend on ballot access? One money bomb takes care of that. Another money bomb raises more than the total budget of any LP campaign in recent history.

    What the LP spends on ballot access is a tiny piece of the puzzle. What matters more are states the LP has retained from past efforts. The biggest and most obvious example is California. ~177k valid signatures (and you might have to double it since getting that many signatures makes quality control difficult). North Carolina, probably over 100k raw needed. And on and on. Now try doing ALL of those from scratch at the same time. And then factor AE into the mix.

    In addition to having retention in the most difficult states and many others, the LP has people who are experienced at getting signatures and at managing drives. That is a major resource that is worth a lot of money on petition drives if you do not have it.

    But money is not everything; even if you have a lot of money, juggling so many states at once, especially with limited experience and major competition for petitioners, is very likely to cause some of those balls to drop to the ground.

    And again factor in that even though Paul has a lo of money, Americans Elect has even more.

  25. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    I realize I spent all that time saying why Paul might not want the LP line, but as a Libertarian I should also make it clear ( and for some of the same reasons) that the LP should not want him, either.

    You can think that all you want, but you can also bet every dime you have that if he decides he wants the LP nomination he will have it on the first ballot. Trust me on this, you would not lose that bet.

    What would Paul do for the LP? Associate us with The Ron Paul Associates newsletters, Stormfront, Pat Buchanan, various anti-liberty ‘true conservatives”? For a 1 year bump in the polls?

    Relatively few people associate Paul with those things, and of those that too, many of them already consider the LP guilty by association.

    Did anyone notice the Reform party after Perot left? Is the Ron Paul campaign any less of a personality cult? I know HE says it’s more about the ideas than the man, and maybe he’s genuine.. but I don’t see that with a lot of his support. Besides, he has the C4L and the whole Rand Paul Tea Party GOP takeover thing going on. If he wanted to help build the LP he would have.

    You may well be right. In fact, I would still lay odds against Paul running as non-GOP at this point. But it is at least somewhat possible, and if he does, it would simply be foolish to go any route other than the LP, except perhaps the off chance that Americans Elect would actually allow him to get their nomination. And if he does decide to run LP, no one in the LP will be able to make any serious attempt to stop him although I’m sure there will be some who will try.


    The fact is, no one running on the LP ticket in 2012 is going to be elected President. Ron Paul is not going to be elected president, and he’s not going to win the GOP nomination. If he wants to keep on running to keep raising money and possibly get a couple % in the general election, he can run 3rd party.. But why would he,

    Perhaps because he wants to keep raising money and building his lists in the general election. Or perhaps because the world situation is so unstable that a win is not completely inconceivable, albeit still very unlikely. Remember, crisis equals opportunity.


    and why would the LP want him to? if I’m the LP and I’m interested in building the party and improving the image, I’m going to run someone who is comfortable being a Libertarian in 2012. Not a Constitutional Conservative looking to Restore the GOP.

    The LP ran Bob Barr. Does that answer your question?

  26. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    Add to that, Paul doesn’t need to run as LP to get support from LP voters. He probably already has what he is going to get there.

    That is true, he does not need the LP for anything other than ballot access.


    He gets more political mileage and $$$$ from playing in/across the various niches of libertarianism, Constitutionalism, paleoism, anti-war, pro-pot, and so on- while winking a little at each group and personally sympathizing with some while trying to corral all under some “State’s Rights” program. It doesn’t do him any good to commit to a narrow idea of a minor political party that has a much smaller base than the overall idea of independents and disaffected liberals and old school conservatives.

    That base BECOMES the LP if Paul runs LP. Forget any narrow ideas of political party of LP past, that goes right out the window without a parachute the minute Paul agrees to run LP, and not a first or second story window either.

    You may well be right that this support would not remain with the LP after the campaign, or perhaps some of it would, but again that is besides the point because if Paul says yes it will happen whether you like it or not. You can take that to the bank and deposit it.

  27. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    That said, I think Johnson might be a better fit for the LP, for many of those reasons. I think he would fit in with the LP with a little higher profile but without the disparity of support/resources and potential for disruption/setbacks.

    If Johnson agrees to run LP and Paul does not, Johnson will get the nomination.

    If Paul agrees, he would handily beat Johnson, so Johnson would probably switch to the VP race at that point. Which I would think he would have a good shot at. It is possible that someone like Ventura could beat him for VP at that point, but most likely he would be the VP nominee under that scenario.

  28. JT JT October 31, 2011

    Humongous, could you please post here so we can hear all your thoughts? A bunch of long posts in a row would be nice.

  29. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus October 31, 2011

    JT,

    No problemo senor, next time I have insomnia at 4 AM and someone laying nearby that would be disturbed if I watched TV, turned on a lamp bright enough to read a book by or engaged in any other activity involving excessive light or noise, I’ll see if there is another topic on which I have a lot to say.

    Until then my comments will probably be pretty short unless I get bored with the whole thing and move on.

  30. JT JT November 1, 2011

    It was 6:30-7:30am on a Monday, Humongous. I don’t know what kind of “insomnia” that is, unless you work a shift on a Sunday night or party on a Sunday night until 3am and also don’t have to wake up during that posting time for work. But whatever.

    In any case, you can definitely post for an hour on one thread whenever you want. I can just skip over half of them, as I suspect many other readers here do when they see a million words in a row of posts from one person.

  31. Humongous Fungus Humongous Fungus November 1, 2011

    4:30 AM on the West Coast, JT, and yes I did have to go to work that day. It is called insomnia for a reason.

    Read as much or as little as you want – I’m really not worried about it.

  32. Jerry L. Chadwell Jr. Jerry L. Chadwell Jr. November 1, 2011

    I’m so sick of the two parties… I wish someone would against these two damned messed parties… the Americam people need to wake up and stop being dummies, or were going to be slaves… we need several third parties which can take power back and restore the constitution to this country… the democrats and republicans make me sick, and they have for 14 years….

  33. JT JT November 1, 2011

    Humongous: “4:30 AM on the West Coast, JT…”

    Then I was wrong on the time and I apologize on that count.

    Humongous: “Read as much or as little as you want – I’m really not worried about it.”

    You shouldn’t be worried at all. I won’t be worried about sarcastically asking if you could share your thoughts after you write a dissertation over a slew of consecutive posts. It’s all fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.