Rand Paul has probably stirred some of the biggest debates over any candidate that has thrown their hat (or likely will) into the Presidential contender ring. One of the reasons why is that he seems to be the anti-GOP GOP which dips into some of the Democrat strongholds.
For one, Paul has been spending time in town halls and gatherings listening to minorities (really listening) and talking about issues that are important to them. Issues such as the non-criminalization of pot possession or allowing certain ex-prisoners to be able to vote again. The fact that he listens rather than lectures has caught the attention of some in the black community and has them thinking.
Recent polls have suggested that more blacks identify as conservative in the worldview than ever before (by double digits nonetheless) are showing cracks in the monolithic black vote. It could also have something to do with the fact that a lot of black people think that the Democratic Party has taken them for granted. Whatever it is, winning the support of even a small percentage of black votes increases his chance of winning (if he can survive the primaries).
Another plank in Rand’s platform is taking a more hands off approach in foreign affairs. While this gives traditional conservative voters pause because of their view of the United States on the world stage, Rand does have an important point; when we have removed dictatorial secular regimes they have been replaced with religious extremism which are even worse. ISIS is a prime example of that.
On the other hand, he is willing to name the enemy – that being Islamic extremism which is more than what our current President can say. That kind of clarity helps leaders to make better decisions when in office rather than trying to force world events through a certain political lens. For sure, the current approach to see everything through political lens has not worked. In fact, it’s made things worse (“it was a anti-Muslim video, cough, cough) and made those who would kill us feel emboldened and make us appear weak.
Interestingly enough, many of Rand’s position are quite conservative, even on the social issues. But what makes him attractive to the younger set is that instead of campaigning on all these social issues, he talks about liberty and freedom in ways that attract the young. I believe he also supports medical marijuana probably helps too.
So while Rand Paul might be the white male grand satan of liberalism on paper, he certainly doesn’t come across that way in person. He appears to be more thoughtful rather than simply righteous. Intelligent without being smarmy. Approachable rather than distant. Practical rather than ultra political.
So I give him some props but it’s going to be a long road particularly with the GOP bench being a lot deeper this time around.