Sen. Rand Paul has announced he is dropping out of the GOP presidential race, sending out this tweet thanking the American people and reminding us to stand for liberty:
“Although, today I will suspend my campaign for president, the fight is far from over,” Paul said in a statement. “I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term.”
Paul finished fifth with 4.5 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus behind Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. Despite a strong social media presence and live-streaming on the campaign trail, Paul wasn’t able to break into the top pack.
Rand Paul’s Distinct Message
While Paul was bumped from one of the main debates because of low polling numbers, he climbed back onto the main debate stage in the last Fox News debate in Iowa, giving one of his strongest performances to date. His message of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a strong but reasonable national defense distinguished him from the other candidates.
“Across the country thousands upon thousands of young people flocked to our message of limited government, privacy, criminal justice reform and a reasonable foreign policy,” he said. “Brushfires of liberty were ignited, and those will carry on, as will I.”
Paul’s voice will be missed in this election as other candidates move forward, some standing for conservative principles while others flame the fires of discontent. None, however, will have the same reasoned, steady message of liberty and small government.
Don’t Forget the Real Threat to America
This is a sad state of affairs because the real enemy we face in this country is not the Islamic State, illegal immigrants, or even the Left with its PC police. The real enemy is Leviathan, a bloated and corrupt federal government with its ever-expanding powers that benefit progressive politicians on both the Right and the Left.
The greatest threat we face today as a free people is the administrative state—centralized power that is threatening our security, our liberty, and the future of this great nation. This is the message of Rand Paul. This is the point he makes in his farewell video.
“There comes a time, in the history of nations when fear and forgetfulness cause a nation to hesitate, to waiver, and perhaps even to succumb,” Paul says. “When that time comes, those who love liberty must rise to the occasion. Will you? Will you, lovers of liberty, will you rise to the occasion?”
Will we rise to the occasion? Will the remaining candidates focus on the real threat to America and seek to throw the ring of power into the fires of Mount Doom once and for all? Or will they keep it, imagining as Boromir did that they can use such power for good? For the sake of our country, I hope they listen to the wisdom of leaders like Paul who challenge us not to trade reason for madness but to open our eyes to the corrupting influence of power and to give that power back to the people where it belongs.
Where Rand’s Supporters Will Go
Who will Paul’s supporters turn to? It’s doubtful they will turn to Trump, who like Isildur, embraces folly by keeping the ring of power with the pretense to use it for good. It’s more likely they will turn to Cruz, the closest conservative to Paul in the race with his promise to dismantle the administrative state, starting with Obamacare.
With Paul’s exit, Cruz will most likely benefit. He will continue to carry the conservative torch. But Paul’s absence is still a loss. Those of us who value the Bill of Rights and want to see America return to her founding principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, federalism, and respect for individual liberty realize Paul’s absence diminishes the electoral possibilities. His voice is a constant reminder not to let fear rob us of our liberty.
The best we can do now is heed Paul’s final words: “Victor Hugo wrote that ideas are stronger than armies. I think the idea of liberty lives on in you, in us. We will continue to fight. This is the beginning. Liberty will live on. We fight on.”
We will fight on, Senator Paul, for liberty.