This past week Kentucky Senator Rand Paul made a campaign trip through western states and got a big reception from local Republican Liberty Caucus chapters and large crowds of enthusiastic supporters from Utah to Alaska.
Calling out Donald Trump for being a “fake conservative” and promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy and substantial tax cuts he was well received by crowds which were noticeably younger and more diverse than those drawn by other GOP candidates.
Western states with late primaries don’t get a lot of campaign stops, but these states have voters who tend to be more libertarian leaning, younger and demographically more receptive to Paul’s message so the trip made good sense in a nontraditional campaign. With the media is being dominated by a single fringe candidate Paul is working the Republican base where personal appeals matter more than media hype.
In Washington Paul took Trump to task for his use of eminent domain and violation of individual property rights. “This whole thing with Trump is insane,” said Paul. “This is a guy who has used eminent domain to enrich himself.”
At his Washington speech he was introduced by Matt Dubin, Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington State who said “Rand Paul is the kind of Republican who can win in the state of Washington…Can Washington stand with Rand?” And the enthusiastic crowd clearly agreed that they could.
Paul was eloquent in his defense of the increasingly abused bill of rights, saying: “To defend the Second Amendment, you have to defend the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment and the First Amendment…The problem with the Republican Party, and why we don’t win, is we are not for what we are supposed to be for?”
His remarks were clearly directed at the other candidates whose records on civil liberties and the Bill of Rights are dubious or in some cases downright hostile to individual liberty.
After the Seattle event Matt Dubin summarized why Senator Paul appeals to Washington voters:
“He would not interfere with Washington’s legal marijuana or same sex marriage laws, he would end racially discriminatory mandatory sentencing, he would reform civil forfeiture laws, he would end bulk surveillance of people’s cell phone and credit card records, he would bring our troops home from pointless wars and interventions all over the world, he would enforce the 6th amendment right to a speedy trial, he would repeal the laws allowing indefinite detention of Americans without criminal charges, he would fight the crony capitalism status quo embraced by both parties, he would oppose bailouts of big banks and big corporations, and he would return authority and money to our communities, instead of forcing us to continue sending both to the other Washington and then beg for some of it back. Simply put, Rand is a new kind of Republican. One who has consciously worked for years to broaden the base of the party and to remake the GOP as the party of justice for all, not just the few. There is no longer a reason to choose between civil liberties and fiscal responsibility. You can have both. You deserve both.”
One of Senator Paul’s most successful stops was at the NSA data center near Orem, Utah. He posted a selfie to Facebook and commented: “On my way to the airport, but we decided to stop by the NSA facility in Utah. When I become President, we’ll convert it into a Constitutional Center to study the Fourth Amendment! Bulk data collection must end! What would you turn it into?”
Senator Paul has already succeeded in ending bulk collection of telephone data – at least temporarily – calling it a “clear and continuing violation of the Fourth Amendment.” Republican opponents, including Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, have openly said they want to expand NSA spying. He would like to make the shutdown permanent.
He has also been vocal in opposing the drone war and has broken new ground for Republicans in reaching out to African American voters over abuses of due process and civil liberties around the nation. As Donald Trump talks about limiting trade and immigration, Senator Paul wants to discourage illegal immigration by making work visas and legal immigration more accessible and is strongly for free trade to bring American products to the world and businesses home to America with low business taxes instead of costly tariffs.
Senator Paul is breaking new ground in the west with a non-traditional campaign which challenges political conventions and the party establishment over genuine areas of concern and principles of Republican government which have been neglected since the days of Ronald Reagan.