September 30th, 2015
Several months ago I wrote that Rand Paul (1) almost certainly would not be the nominee; and (2) was likely to underperform his father’s results. I got a lot of angry email from Paul people telling me to go jump in a lake. None of them–literally, not one–explained what Paul’s path to the nomination was. But hey.
Now the Rand death-watch is officially on: Rand Paul Super PAC Goes Dark.
The next debate is on October 28, four weeks out. What would you put the odds of him making it to Boulder?
I must admit I have been surprised by Paul’s lackluster performance. At the start of the year, well before Trump was on the scene, I thought Paul would be the most interesting candidate. I was skeptical that we were ever really on the verge of a “libertarian moment,” but at the very least, I thought Paul might force some Republicans to rethink some of their positions.
The real debate will be why Paul fizzled (assuming he doesn’t come roaring back somehow). Unfortunately for those who would like to draw lessons from this, it could be blamed on a number of things. Is it his bland personality? Is his lack of libertarian purity dampening enthusiasm from potential hard core supporters? Is even his mild libertarianism too radical for the Republican rank and file? Was his focus on things like criminal justice reform a mistake during a Republican primary? Was he hamstrung by a terrible staff? I am not sure how any of these theories can be tested, so I guess we will each embrace the explanation most in line with our prejudices.