As the primary season opens tomorrow, the candidacy of Ron Paul looms as an important factor in the election of 2008. There is no question he will never win the Republican nomination, but his run as an independent might have disastrous consequences for those concerned about the end of war in Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties in the United States. In a sense, Ron Paul, could become the Ralph Nader of 2008. the Nader votes in Florida in 2000 transformed a Gore presidency into a Bush fiasco and the horror of Iraq. There will be many contested state elections in which a few thousand votes could turn the tide and provide right wing Republicans a chance for victory.
Ron Paul supporters ignore the consequence of a Giuliani or Romney or Huckabee victory. At least two of the Supreme Court’s liberal members who have fought for individual rights are rather elderly and their death or retirement opens the door for a new president to make two key selections that could alter the composition of the court for at least two decades. A Republican victory ensures the death of abortion rights in America, it maintains the horror of Guanatanamo, it ensures the Patriot Act will be supported, and makes more difficult fighting to obtain equal rights for gays and workers.
A Republican victory in 2008 will make more difficult creation of an equitable system of health care in this nation. Ron Paul and his libertarian views on ending the income tax or opposing national health insurance or opposing worker rights to form unions makes him a poster boy for the corporate world. If he siphons off votes in key states and allows a Giuliani to win then Paul has done more to maintain the madness of Iraq than any other candidate. Ron Paul claims he wants American troops withdrawn from Iraq but his candidacy stands an excellent chance of ensuring that does not happen.
In the 2000 election, Ralph Nader supporters were righteous in their indignation against voting for Gore on grounds it made no difference who won. That attitude allowed Bush to triumph. The question confronting every Ron Paul supporter is whether it holds true today– does it make a difference if a Giuliani or Thompson or Romney wins as against a victory for a Barack Obama or Edwards of Clinton? If Ron Paul wants to end the war in Iraq, he will gracefully walk off the stage and avoid a third party candidacy.