I saw Senator Rand Paul speak in the ACC ballrooms on Tuesday, and he stands out to me in a number of important ways.
Two candidates in this race have far greater youth appeal than any of the others, and those two are Bernie Sanders and Paul. The two are about as far apart as possible ideologically, but as Clinton is losing her progressive credibility, Sanders is the natural choice for young progressives. For those who are more skeptical of the role and scope of the government, Paul has an honesty and integrity for millennials who would not otherwise look towards Sanders. He has far more libertarian credibility than any other mainstream candidate.
The issue that is first in the minds of many young voters is the increasing cost of education. Sanders has proposed the more socialist solution, common in Europe, of subsidizing education entirely. Paul’s solution tackles why tuition has become so expensive in the first place. Increased demand and subsidization has driven the price up, according to Paul. He also favors making education deductible, as a work expense, throughout someone’s career.
Paul stands in many ways against the mainstream of both parties. As someone who identifies as an independent Conservative, this is naturally appealing to me. He is concerned by the increasing spending in the domestic arena by Democrats and the mindless foreign policy of the Republicans. American interventionism has for too long destabilized foreign governments with no clear benefit to us.
Paul respects private property. Donald Trump abuses eminent domain to bully and exploit local governments and people into giving up their property so that he can increase his own wealth. And this is a man who wants to win the hearts of the voting public.
The entire Constitution, not only the elements that benefit himself, is important to Paul. The Republicans make it a duty to support not only the second Amendment, but the fourth, fifth, and sixth as well. The NSA collecting phone records, even in the name of security, is a violation of privacy and the fourth amendment. The fifth amendment, the right to a trial jury, is slowly being eroded. The sixth amendment, the right to a speedy trial, is no longer taken seriously by the justice system. When a young black teenager can spend three years in prison and two years in solitary confinement without a trial, without being charged with a crime, and ultimately end up killing himself because his situation is so hopeless, that is a problem. That is a slap in the face to our Constitution.
Rand Paul, however appealing he is, is not a perfect candidate. There are a number of issues on which I cannot say I agree with him. A flat tax, for instance, I consider too simplistic. However, looking at the pool of candidates, Rand Paul stands out to me. Among the Republicans, it would seem he is the only one that thinks clearly and reasonably about issues of policy. And compared to the Democrats, his vision of government is one of limitation and restraint. I try to avoid endorsing political candidates, but we could do far worse than a Rand Paul presidency.