COMMENTARY | Like most of you out there, I’ve been keeping an eagle’s eye on Rand Paul’s Twitter-follower total because we all knew this day would come: Paul is now, a mere two and a half years before the 2016 presidential election, the Republican frontrunner! According to a recent New York Times poll, Paul leads four other Republicans with 69% among Republicans and independents who responded positively to this question: “Would you like to see [X] run for President of the United States in 2016, or not, or don’t you know enough about [X] to say?” Running second was Jeb Bush with 66%. Bringing up the rear were, in order, the predictably sinking Chris Christie, then Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
More important, however, is the pivotal question: But how has this affected Paul’s Twitter following because, as we all know, the ubiquitous mini-blog is the actual measure of anyone’s importance and influence. Paul’s Twitter followers have now swelled to a total of 401,000 as I type this, or to put that in perspective, 33.4 percent of Hillary Clinton’s 1.2 million and 9.8 percent of Lady Gaga’s total. Around here, though, Paul is expected to jump to…402,000 any day now.
The big questions, though, are what is the current actual chance that Rand Paul gets the Republican nomination so many months from now, and what are his chances of winning the presidency, given his stances on various matters, in consideration of the realities of the GOP and general electorate?
Helpfully, the liberal National Memo has given us documentation of five of his views – subject to revision any day now, by The Memo or Paul, not that libertarian Christian types ordinarily back down:
First, Paul has produced, unbidden, his own budget plan for the country: He would immediately privatize Social Security and Medicare, obviously significantly shrinking the federal government. Appeal to Republicans – eh, maybe, except for those blue-collar Republicans who can’t figure out which party they belong in. Appeal to the general, aging electorate? A-hahahahaha.
Second, Paul is against abortion even in the case of rape. The National Memo gives a mushy range of 10 to 20 percent of the general public as supporting this notion. It says here the over-under on a decent poll on this issue of women who vote in the national general election is 4% – and take the under. Remember, it’s more than arguable that women have elected Barack Obama – twice.
Next, Paul seems to oppose challenging Iran if that country continues to work to developing nuclear weapons, as opposed to developing an academic argument they should be allowed to develop “peaceful” nuclear power. Appeal to GOP Deep Pockets (read, Sheldon Adelson, says The Memo): z-e-r-o. Appeal to the general, war-weary public that doesn’t appreciate what a nuke-armed Iran actually means? Probably pretty high.
Four and five (not so numbered by N-Memo): The Senator from Kentucky wants to reform drug laws that put people into prison for possession of a couple of joints (even two times if I read this correctly), and give prisoners who have served their sentences their voting rights back. Appeal to the GOP on number four? 60% hostile. The general public: Probably 75% favorable (85% in Colorado, of course). Five: nobody cares but a few mainstreamed, punished felons, and hey, let ’em vote if they can figure out how to register, right? Seriously, on this Paul is right, OK?
Bottom line questions: how much has The National Memo wrung the nuance out of Paul’s stances on these issues? (Not enough to matter?) And how soon will the Senator begin retreating, inch-by-inch, from that vital stance on rape and abortion? I’ll bet he can “evolve” too.
Watch for that. When it happens, if it does, expect a spike in Twitter followers to – oh, go nuts, Rand Paul core – 404,000.