This article is a Republican Liberty Caucus exclusive by Wes Messamore. If you like what you’re reading, please check out my blog.
As a huge fan and supporter of Rand Paul’s father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, I was thrilled to learn that his son was considering a U.S. Senate run for what would turn out to be an open seat in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Months ago, when Rand Paul’s U.S. Senate campaign wasn’t yet a campaign, just a fledgling exploratory committee by a “long-shot” candidate from Bowling Green, Kentucky, he still managed to win an online poll at a Kentucky news website. When I heard about that online poll at a Ron Paul message forum, I turned out with a thousand other “Paulians” and voted for Rand.
Living just an hour away from his headquarters, I had a chance not very long thereafter to meet with Rand personally, and during our conversation, someone mentioned his poll victory. Rand- with his characteristically dry sense of humor- shrugged and said that would be fantastic if he was running to win the Internet’s vote… he’d be Kentucky’s next Senator for sure.
His point was well-made. Much of Rand Paul’s early support predictably surged from young, web-savvy, libertarian-leaning activists who supported Rand’s father Ron Paul. While their support was welcome, it would have been hardly enough to get Rand Paul where he is today.
Now Rand leads all his major challengers in state-wide polls, is closing in on $3 million in funds raised, and has the endorsements of big names like Sarah Palin, Steve Forbes, and Reagan PAC. How did Rand Paul’s campaign manage to gain so much ground, putting it in striking distance of electoral victory?
Because my grandma supports him. The secret to Rand Paul’s success is not that he resonates with people like me, but that he resonates with people like my grandmother. I’m a young, enthusiastic libertarian Republican; she’s a traditional, conservative, Reagan Republican- and Rand Paul’s message speaks to her.
Originally from Oklahoma, my grandmother has lived in the Bluegrass State now for longer than I have been alive. Her father was a staunch Democrat and all four of his children, including my grandmother, became Republicans during the Reagan years, when the two parties experienced a major realignment.
She started listening to Rush Limbaugh during the Clinton years- and still does. She loves Glenn Beck, she voted for Bush both times, and she even has a crush on Dick Cheney (but you didn’t hear it from me). She thinks and feels like most Kentucky Republicans do about what’s best for her state and what’s best for the country.
Rand was right those many months ago when he implied that kids like me who supported his father are a poor barometer for his success in Kentucky’s upcoming U.S. Senate election. It is not the Internet that will sweep him to victory, but Kentucky’s registered Republicans like my grandmother- the perfect barometer for Kentucky opinion.
The Paul family message of fiscal conservatism, strict constitutionalism, and principle over party has reached beyond the Internet and college campuses, and swept into the hearts of the people who were inspired by the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, and that’s why he will win.
Rand Paul will be the next U.S. Senator representing Kentucky. Not because I support him, but because my grandma does. And when he gets there, he may just be the one of the very best Senators this country has ever had.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.