Without a doubt, 2008 was a year of great political change in America. The failed presidency of George W. Bush had forced many Americans to accept new political realities. On one end, you had the amassing of the U.S. police state in the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. On the other, you had a great awakening. People recognized the dangerous path the country was on: one of constant war, increased budget deficits, and the attack on civil liberties that followed.
Enter Ron Paul stage right and Barack Obama stage left. Largely, President Obama got elected on many of the ideals that Ron Paul stood for. This is entirely ironic as many called Ron Paul the “unelectable candidate.” Obama called debt “unpatriotic.” So did Ron Paul. Obama called for the end of the war in Iraq. So did Ron Paul (we “marched right in, we can march right out.”) On paper, the only difference between the two candidates was their economic beliefs. Obama was a supporter of Keynesian interventionist economic theory while Ron Paul was a supporter of the Austrian school of economics. And off to the side, John McCain represented another version of George W. Bush. If there was anyone who was “unelectable,” it was him.
In 2012, after the failures and outright lies of Obama’s presidency revealed themselves, there was Ron Paul, waiting for his moment. Without a doubt, the anger was there. It was up to the Republican party to provide a suitable candidate to beat Obama in the general election. Unfortunately, they chose a candidate who did not appeal to everyone. America was tired of the typical polished politician. They wanted someone that could upset the establishment, and Mitt Romney did not represent that type of candidate. It was this year that many become aware of what we now call “The Deep State.” Dr. Ron Paul had correctly diagnosed America’s ailments on every socioeconomic level. He understood that our increasing deficits and misguided policies from the Federal Reserve were the true source of America’s economic problems. His historical analysis that argued our foreign policy in the Middle East was a failure correctly labeled America’s wars as unconstitutional and irrational. Ultimately, as a candidate Ron Paul personified what most Americans were truly feeling.
The establishment GOP was responsible for thwarting the Ron Paul campaign. They used election fraud and manipulation to elect Mitt Romney at local levels. Still, Ron Paul was able to garner 435 out of the 1144 votes required at the GOP convention to win the nomination. Many pundits predicted Mitt Romney would lose the election to Barack Obama and they were correct. They also indicated that if Ron Paul had won, the race would have been much closer and in some analyses Ron Paul was predicted to win the general election.
There are many similarities between the Ron Paul and Donald Trump campaigns. They both had the large crowds with the energy and charisma of a rock concert. Their campaign slogans and campaign promises were also similar (“Make America Great Again” vs. “Restore America Now.”) Also, many of the tactics that were used to prevent Donald Trump from winning the nomination were previously used against Ron Paul. However, there are some core differences.
Donald Trump’s presidency could go one of two ways. Either he lives up to his campaign promises, like building the wall, reducing deficits, growing the economy, or, one could conversely interpret “Make America Great Again” as the “Project for a New American Century.” This interpretation would lead to vastly different results for the American people. The first would rely on a nationalistic vision to fix things at home, before fixing things abroad. We simply cannot afford to take on the role of the world’s policeman. The second would rely on a neoconservative vision that foresaw America continuing its unconstitutional pursuit for control of the Middle East, ushering in a New World Order under guidance of the United States with the United Nations as its vessel. One must consider the possibility that Donald Trump and the GOP hijacked the messages of Ron Paul in order to win control of the executive branch, just like Barack Obama did in 2008.
So, when considering these two possibilities we must ask ourselves: Do we want the America that Ron Paul envisioned in 2008? Or, will we accept the goals put forth by neoconservatives prior to September 11th, 2001? President Donald Trump is faced with the same question every day. Many believe that Trump will utilize the “art of the deal” to balance the goals of America with that of neoconservatives and neoliberals. Likewise, there are many believe that Donald Trump is slowly but surely deviating from his campaign promises. Either way, we must not forget the campaigns Ron Paul put forth in 2008 and 2012. His core campaign promises are what America truly needs, whether we like it, or not. The deficits keep climbing, the military budgets keep increasing, and Macron is knocking on Trump’s doorstep for more intervention in Syria.