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LimitedGovernment
05-03-2012, 03:48 PM
Ron Paul's campaign and Ron Paul personally have made great strides in regard to addressing some criticisms of his candidacy. He has started talking about merely being a representative of a larger, unnamed movement, has done recent media interviews on topics of importance (monetary policy in Paul vs Paul being the most recent), and has explained that he will continue his campaign in order to honor the wishes and hard work of the people who have made this effort what it is.

However, for the campaign to be most effective, it must connect with groups that Paul has yet to win over. This will be especially important for states that have open primaries or open caucuses, and for the post-election liberty/limited government movement.

Audience 1 - Casual voters

The campaign's emphasis on sticking to buzzwords like "liberty" appear to me as a hopeful way to reach out to casuals. The same is true of summarizing his other positions as "Just bring them (the troops) home", "End the Fed(eral Reserve System)", "Protect life (of human embryos)", and "Eliminate the agencies (of government, such as the EPA, DOE, etc.)".

The problem is that few casuals really understand what "liberty" means in a political sense, and that these other summaries sound radical and too simple. While it is true that people who don't tune in to political campaigns need simple messages, these do not demonstrate Ron Paul's credibility and carefulness. They don't show that Paul actually reads more legislation than most other congressmen. The campaign needs to use statements that make specific claims - preferably ones that include time frames.

Replacement statements might be "We/I will restore Constitutional freedoms", "I will end armed forces action in Afghanistan in one month of office", "In my first year, I will work with congress to introduce legislation that allows people to use alternative forms of money - like gold and silver", "I will veto any legislation that uses federal funding for abortions and work to return abortion legislation to the states", "I will eliminate waste from all government agencies, and will transition the powers of agency programs like the Department of Education to local governments".

These are all things that Paul has said, and are what he should emphasize to draw more interest from disengaged voters.

Audience 2 - Skeptical voters

I was originally drawn to Ron Paul after I heard some of his long (over an hour) interviews and speeches. His campaign ads and stump speeches wouldn't have gotten me to vote for him unless the other options were absolutely horrible - and Obama isn't absolutely horrible in the minds of many.

What down time Ron Paul's campaign staff has should be spent compiling detailed statements on his positions and gathering links to long interviews that he has conducted - and then feature those in a section on social media sites. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter can be excellent tools for education by directing people to "Further detail" links.

Audience 3 - Democratic Party voters

Ron Paul's statements in late 2011 were far more friendly to non-Republican voters compared to what they are now. In the campaign's quest to win the Republican party nomination, they have risked being open to an "Etch-a-sketch" criticism for highlighting a different tone on issues should Paul be considered a general election contender.

Instead of talking about abortion as a local matter that should be judged in the court system, Paul has shifted to support for a "life at conception" federal amendment to the Constitution. This needs to be reversed.

Instead of talking about looking closely at legislation and research, Paul has shifted to support for turning over matters of governance to popular opinion - or even cutting governmental programs out in order to leave them up to private individuals. While this stance isn't exactly anti-science or anti-intellectual, the tone will scare Democratic voters. Emotional apprehension is a key reason that people do not further investigate a candidate. This shift needs to be reversed.

Instead of talking about supporting new laws and enforcing existing laws that punish corporations that take advantage of consumers, Paul has shifted to talking about how regulation is hurting businesses and must be eliminated. While it is true that regulation harms businesses, and a lot of regulation needs to be eliminated, the absence of a regulation-positive view (or at least a law-positive view) in Paul's recent statements alienates potential supporters.

Paul has continued to talk about laws regarding theists and atheists equally, which is not a popular statement among many in the Republican base. Paul's commitment to the truth also should move him to be bold with his rhetoric on other subjects.

Perhaps these shifts have just been a natural outgrowth of focusing more on what a few campaign surveys have said resonates with the people in the states he's campaigning in. If so, perhaps this simple reminder of his campaign roots will be effective in increasing the quality and appeal of Paul's messages.

I have no doubt that these changes would bring in people who have dismissed Paul to this point, and who will be more involved than the Santorum supporters and Romney supporters who might shift their vote for one cycle if Paul doesn't shift back to his original messages and styles of presentation.