Senator Rand Paul is seen as a leader of the Liberty Movement, so it comes as no surprise that many within the movement jump on every word Rand Paul says in hopes of finding some guidance as to whom they should vote for this election cycle. However, sometimes what Rand Paul says is misinterpreted, thus creating click bait articles, and, in the process, misleading the Liberty Movement.
A few days ago, I came across an article from LibertyViral with the title “Rand Paul: Justifies Trump, Says Gary Johnson Steals Votes.” Immediately I clicked on the article, and after reading and watching the embedded video, I felt confused. I did not understand why LibertyViral would publish an article with a misleading title.
I left it alone, but when I saw the reaction the article had created, I became annoyed by it.
The misleading title has caused a few within the movement to dismiss Rand Paul, and some have said they would not support Rand Paul in the future — all because they didn’t take the time to watch and hear what Rand Paul actually said.
As millennials, we tend to read the headlines without taking the time to research the facts, and I do not blame any of you who do this, because it is the obligation of the journalist to present the truth.
Let’s break down the video and see what Rand Paul said.
Rand Paul starts off by saying “I’ve made my choice. I’m a Republican, and I made my choice to support the nominee. In fact, I signed a document with my word on it, saying that I would support who won.”
The way Rand answered this question here is not new; throughout the year he has maintained that he will not violate his pledge to support the nominee.
Rand continues by pointing out the hypocrisy of the candidates who are now saying that they will not support the Republican nominee. He gives an example of previous pledges that he had made and kept. “I’ve often supported Republican nominees who I was not particularly fond of.”
Halfway through the video, Rand Paul is seen addressing someone in the audience, probably the person who asked about Donald Trump and Gary Johnson. “There will be voters like yourself who will say I don’t like either nominees.”
Rand than goes on to praise Gary Johnson for being the most successful Libertarian Presidential candidate: “Now, Johnson is polling better than any other Libertarian candidate’s ever polled.”
Rand has had somewhat of a clever way of answering questions when it comes to the topic of Gary Johnson or his support of Donald Trump, since dropping out of the race for President.
An article from RedState hints at the way Rand answers those types of questions “Leave it to the libertarian to…not try and control how people think and act.”
Let’s take, for example, the time Rand Paul was asked: “What would you say to someone who says that voting for Gary Johnson is the same as voting for Hillary?”
Rand’s answer, courtesy of Reason.com:
You know, (four second pause) they aren’t the same. I mean, everybody has their decision to make on how they will vote. Some people are very practical minded, and they say “In all likelihood it’s going to be Trump or Clinton. Which is the least bad?” And many will vote that way. And some will say, “No, but I truly believe in limited government, the Constitution and a non-interventionist foreign policy, and I have a consistent philosophy. I want a candidate more of my liking.” And they may well vote for, you know, a third party at that point.
So the debate has to be [with] each individual. All I can tell you is from my point of view, I’ve made my complaints about our nominee quite explicit. I continue to do so, but also don’t see it as my job now—the thing is, is: I do think that my word is important. I signed a document, not under duress, but I signed a document saying I wouldn’t run as a third party [candidate] and I will support the nominee. And I’ve supported nominees I haven’t been perfectly happy with. I wasn’t perfectly happy in 2012; I knew a guy that would have been a lot better in 2012.
Rand does not give an influential answer, but instead, he answers the questions with hypothetical questions one might ask oneself that would lead to the right choice.
Back to the controversial video.
Rand goes on to say “And, if you want to send a message to both parties, then that’s one way of doing it.”
I completely agree.
Now, here’s the part that everyone is freaking out about. Rand finishes off by saying: “But I think, in the end, there is some worry that if we syphon off votes, that it could allow, not Johnson to win, but Clinton to win.”
It is obvious, once again, Rand is explaining what voters would say to justify the reason they wouldn’t vote for Gary Johnson.
If that’s the only quote you read or hear, then yes, it seems Rand Paul is saying ‘Gary Johnson steals votes’ from Donald Trump. However, let’s finish the rest of that sentence, and notice how Rand never endorses that theory but acknowledges that someone might argue that point: “So there is that argument to be made as well.”
Again, Rand Paul leaves it up to the voters to decide if their vote for Johnson is a message to both parties, or if their vote helps Hillary win. Of course, one might argue, a vote for Johnson might help Trump to win, too, if you were otherwise going to vote for Hillary, but from his Republican vantage point Paul does not mention that.
In the end, everyone should take the time to watch the video and listen to what Rand said and form your own opinion. Here’s the video, and if you agree with my analysis, then please share the article: