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Grand Strategy: How Ron Paul Can (Still) Win the Nomination

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[QUOTE=Christopher David;4233515]
  • Introduction
  • The Importance
  • The Opportunity
  • The Path to Victory
  • Case Study - California
  • The Proposal
  • Why Your Support Matters


For the past two months I have spent 40+ hours per week organizing the California grassroots for Ron Paul, while also obsessively studying the GOP primary.

Recently I have identified what I think to be the most likely path to victory for Ron Paul. By victory I mean becoming the GOP nominee for president, and nothing less.

The path to victory requires massive grassroots organization on a scale never before seen. The organizational model proposed below builds on what has proven successful in the most well-organized precincts in past battleground states.

The strategy builds on key building blocks - for example, a way to organize volunteers statewide in all 50 states, having a grassroots headquarters or other operational center of gravity in each state, having a well-defined statewide leadership structure in each state, and so on - and integrates them into a system used successfully so far in California to organize the state in ways the campaign has not had the resources to do.

In California we have by no means perfected the below model, but we have identified certain key elements that can and should (and for victory, must) be replicated in every other state beginning NOW.

What is laid out below could determine the difference between victory or defeat for Ron Paul. Please read carefully.

The Importance:

The strategy below is intended to replace the 'bad habits' of the Ron Paul grassroots.

I think we have...

  • Too much complaining about the media. It wins no votes.
  • Too much Romney/Paul speculation. It wins no votes.
  • Too much focus on alleged voter fraud. It wins no votes.
  • Not enough focus on effective activism like making calls with the Phone From Home program: activism that actually wins votes.

That is not to point fingers or make anyone feel bad.

To win, we need to replace our reactive behavior ("They are ignoring/marginalizing/misrepresenting/cheating us, let's gripe about it") with proactive behavior ("Of course they will oppose us tooth and nail, let's keep our nose to the grindstone and do the hard and unglamorous work necessary to actually win this thing").

We need consensus on a strategic context that allows for meaningful, effective action on a scale necessary to move the needle nationwide on the measurables needed to win.

Victory is possible. It does not depend on the media. It does not depend on the other candidates.

It depends on us. Grassroots activists who care enough to work hard and experiment until we discover the winning formula.

Below is my best approximation of that winning formula. I'm sure I'm missing some things, but with your ideas and feedback this can become a complete and actionable strategic framework for massively increasing Ron Paul's chance to win the GOP nomination.

Read on...

The Opportunity:

A brokered convention is increasingly likely.

That is the probable result of the two scenarios most likely to play out over the next few months:

Scenario 1: All four candidates stay in and the race remains volatile until the convention, ensuring that no candidate earns the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. This results in a brokered convention.

Scenario 2: Romney dominates on Super Tuesday or some big day soon after, beginning a gradual wind-down of the campaign similar to what happened after McCain's Super Tuesday showing in 2008. Back then a few candidates stayed in the race for a bit, but the race was pretty much over by that point. Today the changed delegate situation means that such a speedy wind-down is less likely, but that may just delay the wind-down until a bit later in the process. If there indeed is such a wind-down, and Santorum and Gingrich stop campaigning, they will still very likely not release their delegates until they cash them in for influence at the convention. Meaning that Ron Paul, if we pick up the slack from Gingrich and Santorum, will still be positioned to deny Romney the 1,144 delegates he needs to lock up the nomination on the first ballot at the convention. Every inch that Gingrich and Santorum retreat, Ron Paul will advance, because his never-say-die supporters will propel his candidacy as the last non-Romney to keep fighting. We will then have the large not-Romney vote all to ourselves. Romney will start saving up funds for the general, unable to justify to donors continued spending on a primary that he supposedly won. We will have the field. A lot of people will vote for Romney just because the media told them to, and a few people will continue voting Gingrich and Santorum as protest votes, but the rest of the anti-Romney vote will come to us. Unless Romney was majorly dominant until the wind-down, we should be able to easily deny Romney the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. This also results in a brokered convention.

There has rightly been a big focus on delegates. We are racking up a healthy amount of delegates, enough to be a significant force at the convention. But unless the campaign has a major trick up their sleeve, we are not on track to win a majority of delegates before or even during the convention - at least not yet.

We need to look closely into the convention process and the process of collecting unbound delegates.

There was recently an excellent article by Nate Silver, the lead political statistician at the New York Times, that delves into the delegate math and convention dynamics.

It is well worth reading in its entirety, but here is an important excerpt.

So we can largely disregard those "official delegate counts" on various news websites. They don't matter. They give the false impression that this is a clean process of candidates having a certain result in the beauty contest votes, and earning a certain number of delegates as a direct result. But that is not the case.

In politics, perception is reality.

If unbound delegates perceive that Ron Paul has the clearest mandate from the voters, and is backed by a massive army of supporters who cannot afford to be alienated if Republicans are serious about defeating Obama, then a significant percentage of them could be swayed to join the bound delegates we accumulate between now and the convention.

And if that number of bound plus unbound delegates exceeds 1,144, then Ron Paul will be the GOP nominee.

Look at the four metrics identified above as affecting perceptions:

  1. Winning key states
  2. Leading in the aggregate popular vote
  3. Leading in national polls
  4. Appearing to have momentum at the end of the process

Note that we do not necessarily need to be #1 in each of the above metrics. We just need them to be strong enough on balance that the "mandate" perception by unbound delegates is stronger for Ron Paul than any other candidate.

It's best to think of it like an equation.

The likelihood of unbound delegates choosing Ron Paul (or any candidate) = A combination of winning key states + leading in the aggregate popular vote + leading in national polls + appearing to have momentum at the end of the process.

In other words, a HUGE upswing in momentum in the later states - say, by winning California's 169 delegates that are up for grabs, winning a huge chunk of the 152 delegates in Texas, winning 30+% of the vote in other later states, etc. - could be viewed by unbound delegates as significantly more important than Ron Paul not leading in the aggregate popular vote.

If the Santorum and Gingrich delegates are massively out-organized by the Romney and Ron Paul delegates at the convention, they could be much more inclined to come to Ron Paul than to Romney, especially if the primary battle continues for months and there is bad blood between their candidate and Romney.

(Of course, those delegates will also need to feel good about throwing their support to Ron Paul over Romney. If Ron Paul supporters constantly call them neocons or insult their candidate, it will only hurt Ron Paul's chances at the convention. We need to be polite to everyone. What would Ron Paul do?)


  1. PierzStyx's Avatar
    A few observations on each of the above metrics:

    1. Winning key states - It won't really matter that Romney won Florida and other primary states back in January and February if Ron Paul sweeps California's 169 delegates on June 5th - a definite possibility, as you will read below. If Ron Paul posts wins in a few states at the end of the calendar, including a few primary states, that will be enough to more than neutralize the "can't win a state" line now used by the media to disqualify Ron Paul as a legitimate contender.

    2. Leading in the aggregate popular vote - If the grassroots organizes in every state, we can at least come in second in the aggregate popular vote. Coming in first is theoretically possible if we build massive campaign-style operations in every state beginning now. More on that below.

    3. Leading in national polls - We've seen how fickle are the national polls, and we've seen Ron Paul's slow but steady rise. If we pull off a major upset - like winning California or some other major state - it's not hard to imagine Ron Paul polling first place nationally.

    4. Appearing to have momentum at the end of the process - Very doable. No campaign is organizing in all 20 states at the end of the process. Thanks to our strong grassroots, we can. We just need to organize in a certain way. More on that below.

    Long story short, if all our relevant metrics are trending strongly upward at the end of the process, we can exert a powerful influence on unbound delegates.

    If those metrics are strong enough, that influence will be powerful enough to win over the necessary unbound delegates on the convention's second ballot to win Ron Paul the nomination.

    So how do we create that kind of momentum?

    The Path to Victory:

    I think the path to victory is obvious after considering the following points:

    1. So far the campaign is significantly outperforming our 2008 numbers, but not at a level to put us on track to win the nomination.
    2. A major reason Ron Paul is doing so well is because the grassroots is really stepping up. We have learned from mistakes of 2008 and the successes of 2010. Specifically, we are engaging in proven activist techniques like the Phone From Home program, a variant of the program that played a large role in Rand's landslide victories in Kentucky's 2010 Senate primary and general elections.
    3. The campaign is good at prioritizing where and how resources are spent, but they are unable to direct the tremendous untapped resources of the nationwide grassroots.
    4. The grassroots is operating nowhere near its full potential. There are states where the total statewide activism amounts to little more than sign waves organized on Meetup. There are dormant organizations in the states that have already voted, when those organizations should have been reabsorbed into the grassroots and be now moving at full speed to help the other states. We have hundreds of thousands of identified supporters spread across all 50 states - why are they not organized into 50 state networks and operating like unofficial adjuncts of the official campaign?
    5. The grassroots can figure out what the campaign's strategy is, including where they are allocating resources and why. We can mobilize to support their strategy while implementing our own complementary strategy in later states like California where the campaign has yet to spend any (or many) resources.
    6. Our successes so far in California prove that a significant campaign-style organization can be built by motivated volunteers and run on a shoestring budget. More on that below.
    7. There is no reason for the grassroots not to build statewide campaign-style organizations in all 50 states.
    8. Learning from California's successes and mistakes, other states can catch up to California's level of organization within a month.
    9. Within a month, the Ron Paul campaign could have a parallel grassroots infrastructure operating in all 50 states as an extension of the campaign, DWARFING the combined organizations of every other candidate.
    10. Such organization could significantly increase the metrics necessary to persuade unbound delegates as described above.
    11. Don't you think all of the above would solve the problem of media ignoring us? How could they ignore history being made by a self-organizing grassroots dominating the numbers of multi-million-dollar campaigns?

    This is a numbers game. Think of it this way:

    There is a certain number of phone calls the other campaigns make. Let's say it's 50,000/day.

    There is a certain number of doors the other candidates' volunteers knock on. Let's say it's 10,000/day.

    There is a certain number of literature pieces distributed by other campaigns. Let's say it's 100,000/day.

    There is a certain amount of money raised per month by each campaign. Let's say it's $3 million per month.

    Now think: If we pool together the accumulated knowledge and energy of the Ron Paul grassroots, do you think we could figure out how to exceed each of those measurables - and for the first three by a multiplier like, I don't know, FIVE or TEN?

    We can mobilize hundreds of thousands of phone callers.

    We can mobilize hundreds of thousands of door-to-door canvassers.

    We can produce or purchase and distribute millions of pieces of literature.

    We can create a grassroots army of fundraisers to raise money for the campaign - perhaps something to be merged with the door-to-door efforts. Create donation envelopes addressed to the campaign, and flood the campaign in donations.

    Can the grassroots do 500,000 calls/day? More?

    Consider: A week after we installed 20+ phones in the Los Angeles Liberty HQ, we hit 8,000 calls on a good day. And we're just getting started.

    The New York City Liberty HQ has averaged about 3,000-5,000 calls per day for the past few months. When they do a really big push, they sometimes exceed 30,000 calls in a single day.

    A few months ago, there were days when the NYC Liberty HQ made more calls than the ENTIRE rest of the Ron Paul grassroots nationwide, COMBINED.

    But today, there is no reason why people across the country can't band together and pitch in to set up a bank of phones in an available office, or coordinate Phone From Home parties, or even just individually commit to making 100-500 calls per day, or 1,000-5,000 calls per week.

    I have met multiple activists who consistently grind out 1,000+ calls per DAY, EVERY DAY. They are picking up the slack, and they shouldn't have to.

    Can 50,000 activists average 100 calls per day? That's 500,000/day. Why don't we have an organized effort to secure and track commitments to make calls?

    How about door knocking? What if every sign wave became a canvassing expedition, knocking on 1,000 doors each - with campaign literature distributed at each stop?

    Money raised? Who says we need to rely on money bombs and campaign solicitations? Why don't we equip our door-to-door canvassers with donation envelopes they can ask supporters to put a check into and send directly to the campaign? Why don't we bury the campaign offices with donations we gather from across the country?

    All this can be done. It is just a function of priorities and willpower.

    Whatever the relevant measurables of other candidates, we can FAR exceed them.

    And media coverage?

    We just need to overcompensate on the measurables we actually have control over.

    Overcompensate enough, and the media will HAVE to cover us - or lose credibility with average viewers. You know, the people whose opinions they actually care about. They don't care about losing credibility with you. They do care about the people targeted by their advertisers. If even the regular Joe and Jane get the sense that Ron Paul is getting screwed over - because they get a knock on their door or a few phone calls from our volunteers - the coverage will come.

    Relentless action to increase the measurables we do have control over is the best thing we can be doing.

    Now you tell me what is a better use of time for the grassroots:

    Creating more discussion threads about voter fraud, Romney/Paul, media bias, what the other candidates are saying, miscellaneous speculation, and the like?

    Or coordinating activists on this forum and elsewhere in a massive effort to organize campaign-like networks in all 50 states, developing organizational centers of gravity in each state capable of recruiting and training volunteers to make phone calls, knock on doors, distribute literature, and raise funds for the campaign - so our metrics dominate every other campaign and impress the unbound delegates needed to win the nomination for Ron Paul?

  2. PierzStyx's Avatar
    We need to OWN THE GROUND. Let's plan to...

    • Make 10x more phone calls than any other candidate.
    • Knock on 10x more doors than any other candidate.
    • Distribute 10x more literature than any other candidate.
    • Raise more money than any other candidate.

    I don't know what multiplier will make the unbound delegates (and the media, establishment, etc.) sit up and take notice, but it's very likely less than 10. Oh well, let's shoot for that anyway.

    If the grassroots learns from and builds on what we've done so far in California, we can have a massive 50-state grassroots operation running parallel to the official campaign in less than a month, and be on track to hit the above measurables by May.

    To win, we need to shift the entire playing field in our favor. We need to create a phenomenon. And we can.

    Case Study - California:

    A few months ago we realized that California would very likely impact the nominating process, and in fact could even decide the nomination.

    In December we found available office space and set up the Los Angeles Liberty HQ, modeled after New York City's successful HQ. We started staffing it 12 hours per day, 5 days per week (eventually 6 and now 7 days per week), holding strategy meetings, organizing Phone From Home parties, having debate nights and election-night watch parties, organizing local tabling, and recently setting up a 22-phone call center.

    We had a dual mission: organize to win California, and make calls to other states to make sure Ron Paul gets to California in a position of strength.

    A few months later, we had more 100 people attend our grand (re-)opening party a week and a half ago, at which we made more than 8,300 calls from our new phone bank. This past Saturday we also exceeded 8,000 calls - and we're just getting warmed up.

    We have tens of volunteers, including 10-15 people running for GOP central committee, and even a few congressional candidates, all coming around HQ for events and organizing.

    And because there has been no official campaign presence in California, we have used the HQ as a hub to organize statewide. We put a few hundred dollars into a statewide Facebook advertising campaign that recruited 200 volunteers into our network (check out our statewide website). We then had organizers at HQ call through that list of volunteers to fill the following positions across the state:

    • County Coordinator
    • Congressional District Coordinator
    • City Coordinator
    • Precinct Captain

    Though the main focus is now on other states, we have been building out our statewide field program in preparation for a massive statewide canvassing operation. We are beginning by identifying leaders all over the state who can work to win their congressional district for Ron Paul. (The winner of each of California's 53 congressional districts earns 3 delegates to the national convention.)

    We have been able to get our hands on various lists of volunteers and supporters from 2008, and have been gradually adding them to our network.

    Combine all of the above dynamics with our slate of liberty candidates for central committee, U.S. House and Senate, all of which have their elections on the same day as the presidential primary (June 5), and you can see that we have set up a powerful synergy that will help Ron Paul win the California primary.

    And we have done everything above on a shoestring budget: less than $2,000 in donations raised from grassroots supporters.

    Anyone can do this.

    What did we do?

    We found office space, we staffed it daily, we held events and made our HQ a center of activity, we designed then recruited for a statewide field organization, we raised a bit of money, we got a phone bank, and now we are leading California's statewide field program while making 10,000+ calls per week.

    We are just getting started, and poised for rapid growth.

    If you have any questions about California's effort so far, respond below and I will do my best to answer.

    There is no reason people in other states can't do what we are doing - and more, much more.

    Shall we race to see which state can lead the way to victory?

    The Proposal:

    I propose that activists in every state - regardless of whether or not your state has already voted, regardless of whether or not the campaign is active in your state - create a statewide grassroots network organized along the lines of the above.

    I propose people use this thread to discuss the best way to organize such a 50-state organizational effort, then branch off elsewhere as needed. Perhaps we can use these forums to host the effort, and/or perhaps people will want to create their own separate websites. There are many ways to go about this, and it can vary by state.

    If your state already has some highly organized effort, please post below how it's organized and what other states can learn from it. If you have anything else to contribute to the above model, please post below.

    Broadly, we need three kinds of organizations:

    1. Organizations in states where the campaign is not or barely operating, and there is a need to set up a quasi-campaign infrastructure that can do campaign-style activism until the campaign comes to town. When (if) they do, there is a pre-made infrastructure ready to be absorbed.
    2. Organizations in states where the campaign is operating and the need is to support the campaign, in that state or elsewhere.
    3. Organizations in states that have already voted, to re-absorb campaign networks into the grassroots and send help to other states.

    Networks in big primary states with huge delegate hauls like California, Texas, and New York can afford to be ambitious in the scale of organizing. You have hundreds of identified volunteers statewide? Good, turn them into a quasi-campaign operation. Figure out who is going to do what and do it.

    To ensure we trend strongly upward in the later states, we need rigorous grassroots preparation in those states. Because no other campaign is doing much in those states, we can have a big impact.

    If you are in a position to create or assist with a 'type one' organization, do it and do it now.

    As states with type one organizations get close enough to their voting date to attract the official attention of the campaign, they can transition to 'type two' organizations. It should probably have a different emphasis, perhaps should be organized differently - I don't know. It needs to be discussed.

    As all states vote, the grassroots organizations can transition to a 'type three' organization - shifting resources into phone calls and assisting nearby states.

    Generally I recommend that everyone reading this should replicate our California model in a way that makes sense for your state.

    Then let's share best practices and help each other grow. Like how federalism should work, ya know?

    Use this thread. Use this forum. Share your ideas. Find other leaders. Network, build, grow.

  3. PierzStyx's Avatar
    Why Your Support Matters:

    I am running for Congress as a Ron Paul Republican.

    As a 25-year-old Republican in a district of Los Angeles represented by the 37-year Democratic incumbent Henry Waxman, I face a steeply uphill battle.

    Yet I have spent 40+ hours per week for the past two months organizing California for Ron Paul.

    My staff doesn't think I should spend so much time on the Ron Paul campaign.

    I argue to them that a rising tide lifts all ships. Organizing for Ron Paul is the most important thing ANYONE could be doing.

    And I tell them that my campaign's immediate need - raising the $20,000 I need to virtually guarantee my victory in the June 5th primary - could be solved within days if the grassroots saw fit to help me.

    I love doing this kind of big-picture strategy stuff for Ron Paul. And also helping the campaign by running Facebook ad blitzes like I did for Iowa and New Hampshire.

    But after helping to build the California grassroots, the most important thing I can do to help Ron Paul is to win my primary on June 5th.

    Mine will be a high-profile race. Having worked before with Young Americans for Liberty and Students for Liberty, I know how to turn this into a nationwide youth campaign, a referendum by the youth on the disastrous political class, represented by my opponent the 37-year incumbent Henry Waxman.

    To enter the convention in Tampa in a strong position, Ron Paul will need a last-minute surge of momentum.

    I promise you now that I will do everything in my power to deliver California for Ron Paul on June 5th.

    And I promise you that if I win my primary, I will do everything in my power to translate that victory into momentum for Ron Paul going into the convention.

    My colleague Rick Williams is running for U.S. Senate in California, also as a Ron Paul Republican.

    Rick and I are assembling a statewide slate of liberty candidates in California. You'll hear more about it in a few weeks.

    For now, we are looking to make a big splash as we officially announce our candidacies.

    The more support we get from the Ron Paul community, the more time we can afford to spend organizing for Ron Paul and using our bully pulpits to boost his momentum.

    If you have not yet maxed out your contribution to Ron Paul, please do - and post your transaction receipt in this thread. The campaign needs the money. And they've demonstrated they put the funds to good use.

    DONATE ->

    If you have maxed out to Ron Paul, please consider a donation to my congressional campaign.

    It will let me spend more time organizing a 50-state network for Ron Paul as described above - and will also let me spend more time nerding out on delegate math and convention dynamics.

    I think the above organizational model, if replicated in all 50 states, could make the difference that pushes Ron Paul over the 1,144 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination.

    So whether you can invest time or money or both, please give until it hurts - then give a little more.

    Ron Paul has given decades of his life in support of liberty.

    He needs us now.

    Thank you

    P.S. DONATE -> ... and post transaction receipt below![/QUOTE]
  4. PierzStyx's Avatar
    *NOTE: All this si an excellent post by Christopher David. It is NOT my original work.*