After two long years of speculating, campaigning, hoping, and voting the Ron Paul presidential campaign has come to an end. At the end of this year, Ron Paul’s bid for the presidential ticket will be eclipsed by his retirement, after the completion of his four decades as a congressman. At the dignified age of 76 it seems unlikely that Ron Paul will make a fourth attempt for the presidency in 2016. And with Ron Paul’s certain departure from political life there stands a looming question of whether the Gen Y libertarian/populist movement can move beyond his legacy.
The Ron Paul Revolution or Liberty Movement is younger, more tech savvy, more enthusiastic, and steadfast in their principles than typical conservatives. These differentiating qualities that separate the Liberty Movement from the average go-along-to-get-along establishment Republicans gives the Movement the potential moxie to create a significant and enduring effect in both the Republican Party and American politics as a whole. The youth, which make up the majority though not entirety of the Liberty movement, switches the longstanding paradigm of right-left politics in America, in which the liberal was always the enthusiastic college student and the conservative was always middle aged.
“Meathead” from All in the Family exemplifies this classic construct of the counter culture thinking college student, a liberal egalitarian as opposed to the former archetype conservative of a middle age working man – “Archie”. In this new scenario the Ron Paul “Meathead” argues for a Robert Taft foreign policy, the gold standard and free market capitalism against his elder, the statist, “Archie”. This seismic shift is a far turn of events from the more middle-aged but still very much non-establishment Buchanan Brigade of the early to mid 90’s. The Ron Paul campaign’s fervent youth support pushed Ron Paul over the top in the 18-29 voting demographic in seven of the 24 states that had exit polls or entrance polls. And their die-hard activism enabled the Ron Paul campaign to raise tens of millions of dollars, attain over two million votes, and comprise more than 160 delegates for the Republican convention in Tampa.