President Rand Paul may not sound too catchy, but Rand Paul being the Republican nominee for president in 2016 could be the best thing that’s happened to Democrats and our nation in a long time.
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Political commentator Peter Beinart has a new piece in The Atlantic, where he writes that now that Chris Christie has been knocked out of the number one spot in the Republican Party, Rand Paul is now the likely front-runner for the Republican presidential nod in 2016.
Beinart writes that, “If Chris Christie was ever the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he isn’t anymore…So if Christie is no longer the candidate to beat in the 2016 Republican race, who is? Believe it or not, it’s Rand Paul.”
He goes on to write that the 2016 election could turn out to be like the election of 1964, when the dark-horse, weird, fringe, ultra-conservative candidate, Barry Goldwater, became the Republican Party’s nominee.
As Beinart puts it, “It’s just possible that 2016 could be another 1964 or 1980, years when the Republican establishment proved weak and pliable enough to allow a candidate previously considered extreme to come in from the cold.”
Beinart says the reason for this, in addition to the fact that Rand Paul has good polling numbers, is that there is an existing infrastructure of Paul support within the Republican Party, thanks to Ron Paul taking big chunks of support from Republicans in 2012.
Those people who were Ron Paul followers in 2012 are now Rand Paul supporters, and they’re embedded in the Republican Party.
Basically, Rand Paul has a very good shot at becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016.
So why is that such a good thing for Democrats and our nation?
He could force Democrats to move way to the left.
Rand Paul hates things like Social Security and Medicare. He thinks both programs should be handed over to Wall Street CEO’s and health care executives, so that they can be privatized and made profitable.
He hates long-term unemployment benefits and opposes a minimum wage altogether.
He has even said that companies should be able to discriminate based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
Economically, he thinks everything should be privatized, with the only exceptions being the military, police forces and the judicial system.
And he is totally opposed to a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
But most people don’t know that these are Paul’s positions.
What people do know is that Paul is strongly opposed to the NSA spying on American citizens.
They know that he is incredibly skeptical of our nation’s drone program, and that he’s in favor of gay marriage.
And people also know that Paul is in favor of decriminalizing all drugs, not just marijuana.
When you look at Rand Paul’s position on just these issues, he appears to be way to the left of much of the official Democratic Party.
If he were to run in 2016, and secure the Republican presidential nomination, it’s very possible that not only would he pick up Conservative votes, he could also pick up progressive votes as well based on his stance on issues like domestic spying, marriage equality and drug decriminalization.
So, if the Democratic nominee wanted to have any chance at defeating Paul, whether that nominee was Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or Andrew Cuomo, they would have to move way to left of the current mainstream Democratic Party’s positions.
If things were to play out just like this, and if Paul did become the Republican nominee in 2016, it’s likely that the 2016 election could be the election where things really start getting populist.
Can you imagine if Democrats had to become more progressive to take on a libertarian Republican candidate?
Creating protectionist trade policies and decriminalizing pot could become parts of the official Democratic platform.
Suddenly, pushing for things like healthcare for all and legalizing marijuana would seem mainstream.
Make no mistake about it.
Rand Paul being on the Republican ticket for president in 2016 could be the powerful force needed to move the entire Democratic Party, from presidential nominees to state assembly nominees, to the left.
What a remarkable outcome that would be.