There are lots of people writing things both pro and con about the resignation of Liberty Candidate [score]Rand Paul[/score] from the presidential race yesterday. Some news media outlets are running more objective (-ish) articles analyzing how his absence will change the way the Republican primary is perceived. For example, US News & World Report thinks Paul’s absence might cost them younger voters.
The Republican presidential campaign lost its biggest privacy advocate on Wednesday when Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dropped out of the race, leaving doubt about whether the remaining candidates can resonate with the tech community or voters concerned about government surveillance.
Taking a libertarian stance on Internet issues including encryption and the National Security Agency’s snooping has been a key part of Paul’s campaign effort to attract tech savvy younger voters, while other Republican candidates make hawkish statements in favor of mass surveillance. Tech policy generates less excitement from voters in presidential elections than issues like national security or the economy, however, which in part explains how Paul struggled below 10 percent in most election polls this past year.
It is doubtful that much attraction was lost, because “the tech community” and/or “young voters” didn’t rally significantly for Rand Paul. There isn’t much evidence that he was pulling many of them into a Republican voting bloc.
But I think it is worth noting that without Rand Paul there is no defender of individual liberty against the surveillance states. Even [score]Ted Cruz[/score], who earlier sounded like Paul on some issues, changed his rhetoric. See below:
I think one likely reason for the change in Cruz’s statements is it became clear that Rand Paul wasn’t a threat to him.
I think there is good reason to keep Hillary Clinton (or [score]Bernard Sanders[/score]) out of the White House. I plan to vote accordingly. But Rand Paul’s exit from the race is frustrating. It seems that the crucial decision facing Conservative voters is what flavor of dystopian police state to back against the Democrat police state.