Yesterday was the big day for Paul supporters across the country from each party and independents alike, however it centered around a single state, Kentucky, and the GOP. Rand Paul, the 47-year-old ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and son of the more famous Ron Paul, took on former Democrat and Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Republican Primary in the state. Normally little attention would be paid to a GOP senate primary half a year before the mid-term elections, however this was an exception. This was not just a contest between two candidates vying for the chance to enter the elite club that is the US Senate, it was a contest that could define the Republican Party for years, if not generations to come.
Grayson seemed the ideal candidate to the Republican leadership, he was a former Democrat, had few strong ideological positions, and was running as a yes man for the party establishment, they figured they could shuffle him in, win a few center-left independents along the way, and add another political robot to their supporter ranks in the senate. He quickly won the endorsements of everyone from Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, to former VP Dick Cheney, to one time presidential hopeful and moderate Republican Rudy Giuliani. The establishment was completely and 100% behind Grayson and he was ready to repay them by playing their game, however it did not exactly go according to plan for those in Washington.
Rand Paul may not have been backed by the GOP establishment, but he had something much more important on his side, the grassroots supporters. He, like his father Ron Paul did in the ’08 presidential campaign, set fundraising records by raising $433,509 in a 24 hour period, shattering any amount raised by a Kentucky senate candidate before and this was before the general election had even begun. The proverbial big figures may have thrown their support early and often behind Grayson, but the little man proved that it is he who controls this country. Finally, last night, when push came to shove, not only did Rand Paul manage to defeat Grayson, he did so by a massive margin of 23.4%
So perhaps you are still wondering why this single election was important, sure Rand Paul is against the party establishment, and sure he beat the odds and when, but what does it prove, what does it mean, why should I care? The fact is that, alone, this race proves nothing and accomplishes nothing, however you must look at it as part of a broader trend. Any self-respecting political “expert” would have put his money on Grayson, he had the name recognition, the establishments backing, and the ‘moderatism,’ by which they mean lack of truly substantial positions on most topics, to reach out to independents. However the people of Kentucky were unaffected by these traditionally deciding factors, they actually took some time, researched the candidates, looked into them and thought about who really deserved their vote and who they really wanted in Washington and by a massively overwhelming majority they backed the underdog, senator-to-be Rand Paul.
However, as I said, one must look at this as part of a greater trend. I’m not just talking about a right-wing/libertarian trend, though it tends to come from that side, a side which I identify more closely with, but also the left. Arlen Specter, former Republican, now Democrat, and one of the ultimate political ‘players’ and establishment figures, gone in the primary. In Utah a long time ‘moderate,’ again the term means that he has no real strong political views or opinions, Senator Bob Bennett, gone in the primary. Senator Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, forced to a run off. You can even look at the Florida gubernatorial race where Christ, a well established RINO and current state governor, had fallen so far behind in the polls that he abandoned the Republicans altogether for the prospect of an independent campaign. Traditionally this would signal an easy Democratic win, with the right-wing vote split, however the Dem in the race there is polling at a measly 18% as opposed to Rubio and Christ who are both in the 30%s (Rubio ahead by several points).
The fact is that the American people are experiencing a new awakening, unlike any they’ve had in years. Regardless of ideology or party identification, they have begun to realize that it is not the establishment parties that control the country, the elitists and fools up in Washington don’t control the United States either. We the people of the United States of America control this country, our elected officials in Washington are our employees, they serve us, not the other way around. John F. Kennedy once said: “Do not ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I have a slightly different phrase; “Do not ask what your government is going to do, tell your government what it is to do.” Long ago George Washington warned, in his farewell address, that political parties were a great threat to democracy and a detriment to the people’s ability to rule their own country. Now, well over 200 years later, I think the American people are finally awakening and realizing the danger that comes with a political duopoly.