Ron Paul Can Win

Econophile's picture

This piece was written by Robin Koerner and originally appeared on HuffPo. Robin also writes for the Daily Capitalist and it was published there as well.

It's hard to tell if the idea that Ron Paul cannot win in 2012 is more ignorant, in its complete lack of historical sophistication, or more arrogant, in its claim to certainty amid all the complexity of 300 million lives and the myriad issues that affect them.

Sometimes, perhaps once in a few generations, a nation can undergo what a mathematician or physicist would call a "phase change." The classic example of such a thing is a pile of sand. Every grain you add makes the pile slightly steeper and slightly higher without moving any of the other grains inside the pile, until eventually one grain is added that causes an avalanche of sand down the sides of the pile, moving thousand of grains and changing the shape of the pile.

Such behavior can be exhibited by all complex systems, and a nation -- it should be obvious -- is much more complex than a pile of sand.

The important point for those who would presume to make such grand predictions as "Dr. Paul cannot win" is that no examination of the pile of sand before the point of avalanche would tell you that, or when, the avalanche will eventually happen.

But happen it does; indeed, happen it must.

And there are numerous examples of abrupt and dramatic phase change in the politics of great nations.

The U.K., the country of my birth, provides a compelling and closely relevant example. As every schoolboy knows, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Indeed, he did as much as any man on Earth ever has to save civilization as we know it.

Three months after the entire nation poured into the streets to cheer this great leader (the man a few years ago voted by Britons the greatest Briton of all time), Churchill went to the country in a general election to retain his position as prime minister. There was simply no way he could lose. The best slogan the Labour party, his opposition, could come up with was, "Cheer Churchill. Vote Labour."

And amazingly, that is exactly what the nation did. Churchill was defeated. No one anywhere -- including the people of Britain who voted in the election -- had even thought about the possibility. No newspaper had considered it. After all, the election was a foregone conclusion in Churchill's favor. And yet an unseen, perhaps unconscious, will of the people caused a cultural and political phase-change in the British nation that they neither knew they wanted nor knew they had the power to cause.

Many historians now say that the unseen sentiment that produced this result that shocked not just the British but the whole world was the idea that all the blood and treasure lost to maintain the freedom of the British empire and the Western world demanded something more than continuation of the old political settlement. After a huge crisis, the people wanted a whole new system. In 1945, the Labour Party, with its vision of state-delivered cradle-to-grave security of health and basic material well-being (welfare state), in some way met that national desire for a grand political change.

Following what was in fact a landslide victory for the Labour party, the character of the nation changed massively, and more change rapidly followed in the British identity, as an empire was lost and the mantle of the world's greatest power was handed to the U.S.A.

Those who have noted that one of Ron Paul's greatest qualities is his humility might also be interested to know that Churchill had put down Clement Attlee, who defeated him, with the words, "A modest little man, with much to be modest about."

Perhaps a more fanciful comparison, but nonetheless indicative: no one in China was predicting that the Long March of Mao, which began in defeat and despair, would end in Beijing with victory and the proclamation of a whole new nation under a whole new political system.

And which newspapers were pondering the possibility of the First World War just a month before it happened?

We cannot see past a phase change. I don't know if the U.S.A. will have undergone one at the time of the 2012 election, but the necessary conditions for one are all in place, as far as I can tell.

One has to reach back a good way in American history for a time of such rapidly rising sentiment that not only are our leaders unable even to think of real solutions to the problems of greatest concern (rather than just making expedient changes at the margin), but also that the prevailing political and economic system is structurally incapable of delivering any long-term solutions in its current form.

The sheer range and interconnectedness of the problems that the nation faces are such that any permanent solution to any one of them will require profound systemic change that will necessarily upset many economic, political and cultural equilibria. And that is nothing more than a definition of a national phase change.

The average American may not know what is to be done, but she can sense when the system has exhausted all its possibilities. At that point, not only does the phase change become reasonable; it becomes desirable -- even if what lies on the other side cannot be known.

As anyone can find out just by talking to a broad cross-section of Ron Paul's supporters, his base is not uniform in its agreement on the standard issues of typical American party-political conflict. In fact, Paul supporters vary significantly even in their views of what in the old left-right paradigm were the "wedge-issues." Rather, they are united around concepts that could almost be called meta-political: whether left and right really exist, and, if they do, whether they are really opposed; whether centralized government should even be the main vehicle for political change, etc.; and whether there are some principles that should be held sacrosanct for long-term benefit, even when they will hurt in the short-run.

For those with eyes to see, such realignments and re-prioritization may even be glimpses of America after its next phase change.

If Ron Paul has committed support from 10 percent of the adult population, and most of that 10 percent support him precisely because they believe he represents a whole new political system, an entirely new political settlement, then we may be close to critical mass -- just a few grains of sand short of the avalanche.

Another piece of evidence that the nation is close to a phase change and a gestalt switch is the very fact that the prevailing paradigm (from which the mainstream media, established political class, etc., operate) has to ignore huge amounts of data about Ron Paul and the movement around him to continue to make any sense. The studied neglect of data as "irrelevant" is invariably indicative that the neglected data are hugely important. If information doesn't really matter, why go to all the effort of ignoring it?

Specifically, on all the metrics that a year ago everyone accepted as useful indicators of political standing, Ron Paul is not just a front-runner but a strong one.

First, and most directly, he does extremely well in polls. The organization of his grassroots support is not just excellent; it is remarkable, by historic and global measures. His ability to raise money from actual voters is second to none. His appeal to independents and swing voters is an order of magnitude greater than that of his competitors. Secondarily, he has more support from military personnel than all other candidates put together, if measured by donations; he has the most consistent voting record; he has the magical quality of not coming off as a politician; he oozes integrity and authenticity, and, as far as we know, he has a personal life and marriage that reflects deep stability and commitment.

To believe that Ron Paul's victory is a long shot in spite of all standard indicators that directly contradict this claim is to throw out all norms with which we follow our nation's politics -- and that is a huge thing to do. The only way it can be done honestly is to present another set of contradictory reasons or metrics that are collectively more powerful than all those that you are rejecting. I am yet to find them.

If it is true that the studied neglect of data to hold tight to a paradigm is the best evidence that the paradigm is about to collapse, then the massive and highly subjective neglect of all things Paulian is specific evidence that the country is moving in Paul's direction.

Of course, none of this means that Paul will definitely win. But it does mean that a bet against him by a politician is foolhardy and by a journalist is dishonest.

It is worth returning to Churchill's career for an even more delicious example: just days before he became the great wartime leader, his career had been written off as that of a kook, and he was being discussed as someone who had extreme ideas and whose thinking did not reflect the mood of the nation. The House of Commons was abuzz with his decline and imminent fall.

And then, rather suddenly, something he had been saying for many years -- that there was something rotten in the state of Germany -- became so obvious that it could no longer be avoided. Once the nation saw that he had been right all along, he became the leader of the free world in very short order. His career changed. Britain changed. The world changed. No one had seen that coming, either. In fact, everyone thought they knew what was coming: the kook was about to disappear into political backwaters, if not the political wilderness.

Do I even need to draw the parallel?

If Paul wins, it won't be because he is the kind of candidate Americans have always gone for. It will be precisely because Americans have collectively decided on a dramatically new way of doing business -- a new political and economic paradigm -- and then he'll not only have ceased to be a long shot; he'll be the only shot.

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-Michelle-'s picture

There is the just man neglecting his affairs and perhaps suffering other losses, and getting nothing out of the public, because he is just; moreover he is hated by his friends and acquaintance for refusing to serve them in unlawful ways...

But when a man besides taking away the money of the citizens has made slaves of them, then, instead of these names of reproach, he is termed happy and blessed, not only by the citizens but by all who hear of his having achieved the consummation of injustice.

-Plato, The Republic

UP4Liberty's picture

Econophile - thanks for posting this article.  It is well thought out - cheers!

beanieville's picture

The solution is not Ron Paul.  The solution is the massive adoption of green energy, starting with the electrification of vehicles.


It really is.  Green energy displacing oil will pay ALL of America's debts and bring unheard of prosperity to every single American.

FreedomGuy's picture

You think maybe you're on the wrong blog with the wrong post, you moron?

tip e. canoe's picture

cars powered by electricity generated by coal and nuclear power plants, wow, how revolutionary.   only way your scenario has any chance of being green (other than the color of our collective skin) is if the next president immediately declassifies all of the original Tesla's notes that the USG stole and releases them in the public domain so all the geeks can start taking a crack at them.

now which one candidate in the field do you think will actually even have an inkling of an intention of actually doing that?

beanieville's picture

"cars powered by electricity generated by coal"


Watch the video, fool, starting from 7:25 where Tesla talks about efficiencies.  


I'm appalled that here you are, acting like a beaming light of hope with your gold standard pumping, yet have such a lack of knowledge about electric cars.  If you know not what you speak regarding electric cars, you surely don't know much (other than on a superficial level) about gold standards.

tip e. canoe's picture

dude, please show me one place where i wax (eloquently or otherwise) in favor of a gold standard.    as far as Au 'saving the world', there's only one way IMO that it possibly could and it's so far out there that there's never been one discussion anywhere here or any other 'mainstream' website about it, except in jest that 'you can't do it'.  i'll leave the rest up to your imagination.   now back on topic...

i watched the video and yeah it's "cool" and all that, and maybe a couple years back, i would have agreed with you.   but honestly, think this through a minute, if electric cars were THE solution, even with the efficiency gain (which i'm willing to concede is possible), how many more coal & nuclear plants would have to be built?    are you willing to put one of those in your neighborhood?   without discussing revolutionary efficiencies in electricity generation, you're simply trading one form of energy consumption for another.   and where's the lithium for the batteries going to come from?   Afghanistan?  China?   and what's going to power that heavy machinery that will be needed to dig that out of the ground and refine it?   just what the earth needs, more strip mining, doesn't seem so "green" to me, now does it?

and what the hell are you going to do with all those internal combustion engines and the vehicles that house them?   how many of these do you think exist out there right now?   you think 1 billion is off the mark?   talk about a "cash for clunkers"...i guess we can just ship those all to the moon and dump them there.

maybe if GM hadn't killed the electric car way back when, this idea may have had a fighting chance to succeed as we could be discussing the inherent problems that electric cars on a mass scale would have created and how to solve them.   but we're a little behind the 8 ball at this point don't ya think? 

THINK MAN...quit talkin your book and think!   if you honestly believe that electric cars are a part of A solution, then more power to ya, i salute people using their noggin instead of constantly preaching doom & gloom.   but sorry, THE solution has an intensely vast amount of complex variables that all interrelate with each other on both sides of the equation.    

me, i'm a little old school, i happen to think that Henry Ford already solved a large part of the problem back in the 40's without having to put all these vehicles already built and on the road into immediate obsolescence:

too bad it's illegal, which brings us back to RP, doesn't it?



beanieville's picture

Instead of spending time pumping this bulshivik of a gold standard, you can help reshape America and change the world by pumping and participating in green energy and the mass electrification of vehicles.  Go do some deep research,  and be openminded like how you want others to be openedminded about your gold-will-save-the-world mission.

FubarNation's picture

How are your chine salad shooters going to make it to Walmart?  On an electric train?

beanieville's picture

Ron Paul is useless if he can't help electrify our cars.  

A Tesla Model S costs as much as to own as a Ford Taurus.

An eyeopener:

BMW 328 vs Tesla Model S

Let's do the numbers, shall we?  According to, for a 10 year period, the total cost of maintence/repair is actually at least $40,000.
It costs about $4 to recharge and run the Tesla for 300 miles ($2 for 150 miles). A full tank of gasoline runs about 250-300 miles. So the energy cost comparison is $4 for Tesla and $50 for gasoline car. I generally fill my current gasoline car about 6 times a month. That's $300 per month, $3600 per year, $36000 for 10 years. That's $72,000 for 20 years.

-BMW 328: $34,000

-gas for 10 years: $36,000 (for 20 years: $72,000)

- maintenance/repair: $40,000 (10 years), $80,000 (20 years)


Total = $110,000 for 10 years, $186,000 for 20 years ownership

Tesla Model S:

- cost: $50,000 ($57,000 minus $7,000 rebate) --- this model runs 160 miles per charge

- electricity for 10 years: no more than $3,000. 20 yrs would cost $6,000

- repair/maintenance: $1000* per year (I feel sorry for the BMW so let's put a number here, though reality is less than this), $12,000 (10 years), $24,000 (20 years)

- quick battery charger for home: $2,000 . $4,000 if replacement after 10 years

- extra battery: $12,000 is bought up front. Note that the latest Panasonic batteries can last 150,000 miles. We add this battery for after the 10th year or 100k-150k miles.

Total for Tesla Model S: $67,000 (10 years), $96,000 (for 20 years ownership)

beanieville's picture

You suckers think that the solution is the gold standard, but it isn't.  The solution is the electrification of our cars.

Bear's picture

Ron Paul the next Churchill? Obama the next Roosevelt? Do I hear WWIII brewing?

Dr. Gonzo's picture

Strong article. I feel the same way. I feel he is the favorite. I would honestly handicap it this way if I made book in Vegas. The field is so weak too. Plus he doesn't have to put on an act and stay in character like the others do. If he wins the nomination he trounces Obama. 

FreedomGuy's picture

I agree, Gonzo. The talking heads on TV don't get it. Paul is really the only candidate in either party that represents a fundamental shift in how things are done. Were he to win it would signal a revolutionary shift. His support is solid and the middle ground could shift to him. Even some Dems like his libertarian stances.

After getting my IRS audit notice today...I will be sending him money. I am sick and tired of the growing, voracious increasingly autocratic state.

Bear's picture

Unfortunately the election is nationwide, not just ZH (although it would be far better that way) ... I don't care what the media says, but unfortunately others do ... RP is my choice but sheeple with not go down that road


But again, any nation that could elect BHO, could do anything!

ShankyS's picture

Damn straight he can win - best example of how scared they are of him - they cancelled the TX straw poll cause there was "not enough interest". Seriously? Not enough interest with two ot the top candidates from TX. Fucking bullshit. They are scared shitless of RP. I know I will do all I can to spread the word and get him elected. 

baldski's picture

What is this site? I thought it would be about investing and good stocks to find, instead it is nothing but a pitiful political diatribe of mostly right wing whiners decrying that black man in the white house. Where is the beef?

FubarNation's picture

Hey that black man in the white house was pretty big on a company called Solyndra something.  You might still be able to buy stock in that if you hurry!

ping's picture

I just don't trust any president with ears that big. 

robobbob's picture


we hate black people.

nothing to do with him being a marxist wannabe

nothing to do with him being an establishment puppet

nothing to do with his crass, offensive, transparent, Chicagoland politics

nothing to do with his terrible policies based on a combination of his complete lack of understanding about the operation of the real world beyond a college lecture hall or community organizer meeting, and the scripts handed to him by his crony corporate/union backers.

yeah, stick with that black thing. that way you don't have to examine your own failed philosophy or admit the disasterous mistake you made putting an inexperienced, naive, ideologue in charge of the most powerful country on earth.


Temporalist's picture

You left out

Nothing to do with him being a blatant liar just like his predecessor.

theabyss11's picture

This coming from a Socialist Democrat:

Obama isn't Marxist. In fact he's hardly even liberal on anything other than social issues. The bank bailouts were started under Bush and continued through his administration.  The healthcare bill he passed was originally a Republican plan. He extended the Bush tax cuts. He's bringing us out of Iraq only to shift the troops over to Afghanistan. He's stepped up drone attacks. He's done nothing to prosecute the bankers that are raping this country. He has continuously bowed down and caved to the right wing at almost every opportunity.

Establishment puppet? Our last decent president was Eisenhower. Everyone since has been dog shit.

Chicagoland politics? You mean politics right? Ever hear of someone named Karl Rove?

Inexperienced..Lack of understanding? Let me ask you one question. Did you vote for George Bush? Thought so..

Raciest? Nah I don't think your raciest, just misinformed and blinded by your own ideology. I used to think that Obama could actually be someone that actually gave a shit about working people and helped to bring down the establishment. Then I realized he like all our other politicians only really serves his true masters. The true fascists that actually run this phony democracy. When the people finally wake up from this 50 year slumber and actually decide to take real action against their true oppressors, I'll be ready. Until then, fuck politics and this misinformed belief that we actually choose our leaders.

Cabreado's picture

Nicely said.


Although I think "puppet" precludes ideology...

replace with Narcissist, maybe, but as time goes on, I'm leaning more and more towards a downright simple Puppet in action. 

He is now not able, even, to muster up the behavior of a Narcissist in the role that he's playing.

He's acting quite exhausted, IMO, and I'd venture a guess that his string-pullers are disappointed in the man (they would not recognize, let alone admit, any culpability in this game).

Can't wait to see what History has to say, but that is corrupt too, so we will likely never know the real scoop.

robobbob's picture

Even a puppet has certain physical characteristics that dictate what actions it can and cannot perform. and when more than one puppeteer are fighting over the strings, the result is disjointed flailing about.

Obama wanted to be the transformative marxist who brought down America, but he is trapped by having to work within the system, where even coercion and corruption can only take you so far. He also sold himself to so many conflicting groups, all fighting over contradictory goals, he cannot possibly appease one without angering the others. To make matters worse, the policies he's implementing are flat out wrong.

As his ability to hand out favors, and cash, diminishes, so does his usefullness to the TPTB. Meanwhile, everyone is keeping score on his growing list of failed promises, and outright betrayals.

Religion Explained's picture

Ok, here we go. Ron Paul on money: awesome. Ron Paul on Foreign policy: suicidal.

How suicidal? Just answer this question: What would a "twelver" do with a nuke?

I rest my case. Get off the Ron Paul wagon. He's right on one thing and one thing only. Granted it is a big thing here on ZH, BUT, millions of people dying as a result of Ron Paul's laisez fair foreign policy?

No thank you. We'll figure out how to straighten this mess out without sacrificing millions of human beings.

FreedomGuy's picture

Exactly what responsibility does he abdicate that is going to get millions killed? He doesn't advocate unilateral disarmament that I've ever seen. Economics is everything. It is what brought down the USSR and Maoist China without a sot being fired. It is the unifying theory of liberty, prosperity and peace. That's why I enjoy sites like this.

Ron Paul rules and no candidate is without blemishes.

Blindweb's picture

 Imagine what you could do with the 100s of billions spent on foreign wars if it was actually directed at stopping nuclear weapons and terrorists in ways that worked.   Instead the US makes the world less safe every year.



wisefool's picture

I imagine you could remove the gasoline tax, and then when the arabs raise prices, in fair and free trade, the net effect to americans would be the same price for gas, and it would not be mixed with american or arab blood.

Sucicidal policy indeed.

FEDbuster's picture

Iran would be the one committing suicide, if they were able to develop and stupid enough to try and use a nuke.  Israel has over 300 nukes that could turn the entire country of Iran into a giant sheet of glass.  So if the "twelvers" want to fast track their meet up with Allah, so be it.

Crazier countries have nukes, see North Korea.

ping's picture

Has anyone got any crisps? I'm starving. 

Cabreado's picture

I don't do cheerleading...

but in the context of current politics (I don't do politics either), Ron Paul is an enigma.

If I had a vote that counted -- one vote that actually counted -- I would vote for emotional intelligence of the masses, wherein they would look for, recognize, and understand that the integrity, truthfulness, humility and selfless motivations of our elected leaders is, in fact, the be-all, end-all.

We had a Set of Instructions once -- it was called The Constitution -- are we all such men now that we need no instructions?

If you're a Ron Paul hater, not to worry, no one man will save the day, Ron Paul included.

Congress is corrupt and broken, after all.

If We'd like a chance to attempt to redeem ourselves, however... it's pretty obvious that Ron Paul will do everything he can to nudge us in the Appropriate Direction.

Westcoastliberal's picture

I like the sand dune analogy and maybe if you boil it down, a lot of us voted for change last time and didn't get it.  Instead of soup we got dirty dishwater.  I believed Obama, but he really wasn't tested before rising to this high office and we were fooled.  Ron Paul on the other hand, could probably be in with the in crowd in the GOP if he toned down his rhetoric.  He never has to my knowledge, backed off, because this is what he believes in.  I disagree with him on social security and a woman's right to an abortion, but I really like the idea of smaller Federal government and greater states rights.  On the other hand, I like Bernie Sanders too, and I'll bet both get along on many topics.  Both men are men of principle.  So maybe this really is a new party emerging.  Can you imagine a Paul/Sanders ticket?  What a riot!

Uncle Sugar's picture

You fell for Obama's schmooze?  How dumb are you?

sdavis's picture

dig deeper into his abortion stance. Basically, he thinks the states should decide. He will not move to stop abortions as it is no business of the Central Government tp interfere.





g's picture

Ron Paul is a role model. We need more like this man, not many people at his position live their ideals, vote their ideals, their whole life and political career. This man has not been bought and my hat is off to him, America will eventually take notice because deep down this is what they want and know they need.

caerus's picture

was surprised and pleased to see local (tx) news reporting ron paul's lead over perry in the ca straw poll...dr. paul usually gets conspicuously "overlooked"  

grunk's picture
USA Today/Gallup 9/15 - 9/18                    

Perry - 31% 

Romney - 24%

Ron Paul - 13%

Bachmann - 5%

Gingrich - 5%

Cain - 5%

Santorum - 2%

Huntsman - 1%


Ron Paul can make life miserable for the Perry and Romney. He's got the FRN's to stay in it for the long term. As others drop out, the media will have to give him recognition.

Nothing To See Here's picture

The powers that be will make everything possible to feed the race with as many clueless candidates as they can until it is too late. Remember Huckabee 2007-08, stayed until the end even though he was out so that Ron Paul would not get exposure nor the anti-McCain votes.

Dr. Gonzo's picture

California Straw Poll Yesterday:


Ron Paul- 44%

Perry -29%

Romney - 13%

Diamond Jim's picture

Dr. Paul does offer a refreshing view of politics and DC. I guess I am one of the grains of sand that is not in the pile. I think most of America considers him out of the main stream. that said...if you are looking for a "phase change" consider a second Prez Owe term of four years. Of course he will take any victory   as a mandate, and he and Queen M will really phase change America. Things are just heating up........ 

Temporalist's picture

I get your point you didn't deserve the down votes.  It's like saying if you want you can brake before the wall, maintain speed or increase speed.  Maintaining the status quo is clearly flooring the accelerator.

Ura Bonehead's picture

It's hard to tell if the idea that Ron Paul cannot win in 2012 is more ignorant, in its complete lack of historical sophistication, or more arrogant...

Regretfully, of course he can't win in 2012.  He doesn't cater to the mainstream middle (which is a plus to his supporters), his base is fringe (in a healthy sort of way), his foreign policy opinions are.... unique, his domestic opinions are.... foreign, he's in his 70s....  I could go on.  The bottomline is that he scares the hell out of most folk.

I'm a fan or Paul, a fellow Texan, and will gladly vote for the man in a primary (as a protest vote).  I give him credit on (certain) economic issues.  But we're talking about the Presidency here, not Lecturer Emeritus at the student union.

Perhaps this means that the youth that seem to be his base have figured out that the LAST guy they supported was a party charlatan.

P.S.  I regret that the Republicans do not seem to have a viable alternative.

Dick Fitz's picture

I disagree. It is the middle that is responding to Paul- they are tired of the wars, tired of the taxes, tired of the TSA and EPA and IRS, tired of the constant lies, tired of the inflation- and they are starting to see that Dr Paul just MIGHT have a solution. They've tried Clinton, then Bu$h, then Obama...and they've all promised the moon and delivered nothing.

Zola's picture

Why is it that the moral character of America has fallen so low?? All this whining about he cant win is pathetic... Do you think the people with washington fighting the british had this same defeatist attitude ? Do you think they were always giving up because apparently they could not win ?? THey showed resilience , courage and determination. Americans are now shadows of their former selves.

FEDbuster's picture

It's the same thing that makes American Idol and Dancing with the Stars hit TV show, and Oprah a billionaire.  The failure of American education is not just low test scores.  Sad state of affairs.

I continue to try and convince republican friends of mine one at a time to support Ron Paul (and it takes a long time), but it's the only way to do it.  It's like "prepping" for an uncertain future, you either get it, or you don't.