Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Ron Paul's Millions
Amidst the excitement over Ron Paul's fundraising, it is worth recalling that in the much lower-intensity race of 2000, Ralph Nader raised over $8 million for his presidential bid. It would be interesting to know how many of today's Paul donors were Nader donors then. But surely the moral of the story is that the United States is a very big and rich country, and that its political fringes are likewise big and rich.
Update: Howard Dean in the 2004 cycle attracted 318,000 individual donors who donated 454,000 times for a total of almost $40 million. That's approximately ten times Paul's haul in every dimension. True, Dean did not do it in one day. But almost all that money arrived in a single quarter.** My conclusion from this is that Ron Paul is actually underperforming his potential. I'd guess that he would do much better if he dropped the gold standard stuff, and ran a pure anti-war campaign, spicily seasoned with 9/11 paranoia.
Double Update. Just noticed that Andrew Sullivan opines that I am "rattled" by Paul's haul. Personally, I think it is Andrew who has been "rattled" by being caught in yet another of his careless or reckless errors and inaccuracies. But for the record, he's my view on the Paul candidacy.
Of course I am saddened to discover that many thousands of Americans have rallied to a candidate campaigning on a Michael Moore view of the world.
Saddened, but not greatly surprised. There is a constituency for anything in a country this big.
And from a pragmatic political point of view, it's also true that the Paul candidacy helps rather than hurts my party and my preferred nominee, Rudy Giuliani. Rudy is in no danger of losing Republican primary voters to Ron Paul. And if (as I have speculated) Paul mounts an independent candidacy in the general election, he will draw votes from disaffected Democrats, disappointed in Hillary Clinton's failure to articulate a more radical antiwar message. As third-party candidates go, Ron Paul is Nader, not Perot.
** Self-correction: Dean raised $15 million in the third quarter of 2003 and another $15 million in the fourth quarter.
11/06 09:25 AM