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Would greater media focus on Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy help it or hurt it?

Ron Paul and his fans have been complaining for months that the mainstream media aren’t paying enough attention to his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, even when polls show him doing fairly well.

This neglect is due mostly to the conventional political wisdom that a doctrinaire libertarian like Paul has virtually no chance of winning the GOP nod.

Jonathan Chait carries the argument even further, CONTENDING that Paul actually has benefited from less than intense media attention:

It would be nearly impossible to imagine the Republican Party nominating a candidate who spent years and years publishing a racist newsletter and has deep associations with the fringe far right. (Here he is speaking to the John Birch Society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.) It would be even more impossible to imagine the Party nominating a candidate who favors total withdrawal from world affairs and takes a Chomsky-ite line on American power. The notion that the Party might nominate a candidate who does both these things is totally preposterous…

Paul’s supporters seem to believe that the media ignoring him is the only thing keeping him from challenging for the Party nomination. More likely, it’s the only thing that’s allowed his candidacy to progress to this point. If more people actually understood the full scope of Paul’s fringe-right views, a huge portion of his support would peel off.

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12 Comments

  1. Jonathan Chait is wrong. (Again)

    When the leader of the NAACP backs Ron Paul, you know your smear tactics have failed.

    http://www.independentvoter.com/2011/12/20/naacp-president-ron-paul-is-not-a-racist/

    As far as American Power goes, more US soldiers have contributed to the Ron Paul campaign than any other candidates. That ought to say something.

    The Republican establishment is so afraid of Ron Paul they’re trying to conjure up another push for Jeb Bush. (I like Jeb, but such a notion is political suicide)

    On the other side, only Ron Paul has the ability to sway the anti-war/peace demonstrators away from their traditional base on the left to his side. Remember, Obama increased troops in Afghanistan at least twice.

    So its not a matter of the Republican establishment “allowing” Ron Paul to have the nomination as Chait claims, but rather they may not have any choice.

  2. Then there is this poll from two weeks ago which basically states that Ron Paul is the GOP’s best hope against Obama. (And don’t give me that Huntman stuff from Silver….even he has no concede Hunstman has zero chance on the nomination while Paul has an outside chance)

    Ron Paul 42%, Obama 42% (tied)
    Mitt Romney 39%, Obama 46% (-7)
    Newt Gingrich 37%, Obama 47% (-10)
    Rick Perry 37%, Obama 48% (-11)
    Michele Bachmann 31%, Obama 54% (-23)

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/A_Politics/_Today_Stories_Teases/111204_NBCMarist_Iowa_6a.pdf

  3. Neftali: Conventional political wisdom isn’t always correct, but in this case it is. There is simply no way that Ron Paul will win the GOP nomination. I would bet dollars to donuts on it. And if he runs as a third-party candidate, he’ll only help Obama win re-election.

    The American people are not going to elect a radical isolationist and radical libertarian to the presidency. It just isn’t going to happen, no matter what polls might indicate 11 months before the election.

  4. I agree than as a 3rd party candidate he would only help Obama.

    I thought the same thing a two months ago regarding Paul’s chances for the nomination. Now, I’m not so sure. I think he has a chance. This is especially true in states with “open primaries” where registered Democrats can vote for a Republican candidate. I think you’ll see a lot of cross over to Ron Paul.

  5. Hmm…perhaps I’ve been drinking too much Ron Paul kool-aid the past couple of days…

    All the RCP polls of Paul vs. Obama show Obama well ahead.

    :(

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_paul_vs_obama-1750.html

  6. Neftali: The RCP average of recent polls also shows that the gap between Obama’s approval and disapproval ratings is within the overall margin of error. The ABC/WaPo poll actually shows a two-point advantage to the approval side.

    And there’s this:

    “While still at a 16 point net negative (41%-56%) on the economy, Obama’s numbers are his best since April. When respondents were asked who they trusted to handle the economy, Obama led the Republicans in Congress, 44%-40%, and led the congressional GOP on creating jobs, 44%-41%

    “There are two numbers that best explain Obama’s rising approval ratings. Respondents trusted Obama more than congressional Republicans, 46%-41% on taxes, and by a 15 point margin (50%-35%) they trusted Obama more to protect the middle class. Obama has gained 11 points on the Republicans on protecting the middle class in the last month.”

    Read more about it here:

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/obama-approval-rating-soars

  7. Larry Bone

    Any coverage is better than no coverage because without any coverage the candidate is seen as having not even a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected. I saw one article characterizing Ron Paul as naively promising to get impossible legislation through Congress and the Senate. Everyone and Paul himself knows it would be an uphill battle so that is just nitpicking, carping criticism. Maybe this part of the process of being considered a serious contender.

  8. Neftali: As your link makes clear, that NAACP guy was the head of one chapter in Texas and was not speaking for that chapter, just himself.

  9. Ron Paul should run third party next summer if he doesn’t win. The broader public needs to have a chance to vote for him.

  10. sovereign

    Everyone on the fence with Ron Paul needs to check out whyronpaul.com and ronpaulmyths.com

  11. Gotta be honest, it would hurt him. The way the mainstream media twists all his stories and asks him irrelevant questions definitely doesn’t help. Paradoxically, the more they ignore him, the more his “loyal but small base” (which coincidentally grows by the day) get fired up and do more than their share to spread the REAL news and Ron Paul’s REAL points and stances on the issues to their friends and family.

    It’s truly a lose-lose for the mainstream media, of which I am a very big fan. So thank you MSM, your choice to talk about him or ignore him is only going to help him out in the end. Keep up whatever you’re doing!

  12. Larry Bone

    Ron Paul’s viability as a candidate hinges quite a lot to do with how much in trouble the average voter perceives our country to be in. Is our two party political system corrupt beyond reform. Is our bad economy salvageable or will it only get much worse? Can our educational system and health care system be salvaged or will they only get worse? Is it more important to blame the banks, Wall Street and rich people for the bad economy or is it important to stand up against the pharmaceutical companies who seem to have turned many doctors into over prescribing drug dealers which has been particularly harmful to foster children all over this country as seen in Diane Sawyer’s investigative reports on ABC television. If enough people feel this country is headed toward ending up a third world country like Venezuela, then maybe Ron Paul has a chance.

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