In response to my recent article on Blogcritics suggesting that Ron Paul should not run as a third-party candidate if he fails to attain the Republican nomination, a Paul Supporter writes:
When a candidate enters a primary, he agrees to accept the primary’s outcome.
Do you have a citation for this? …. I donated money to Paul because I want him to be President and if his best route means doing it outside the party, so be it. The two parties are part of the problem with Washington. If you don’t see that, you shouldn’t being writing about politics
Not only does this comment entirely miss the point of my article, it’s illustrative of the selfish attitude that pervades Dr. Paul’s base. If Paul’s best route to the presidency lay outside the party system, then he should have taken that route. He chose not to; he chose to participate in the Republican party’s primary.
That which is legal is not always right. It’s true there is no legal mandate that a candidate accept the outcome of the party primary. There is no binding contact prohibiting him from running under some other banner, or without one. But if every candidate shared this attitude, the primary would serve no purpose.
Paul may not have signed a contract, but the simple act of entering the Republican nomination process implied his consent to be bound by the decision of primary voters. To run anyway after losing the primary would be the political equivalent of taking your ball and going home, but with far more disastrous consequences. If that’s the attitude we’re going to have, we may as well tell the Democrats to make a permanent set of White House keys.
It bears repeating, this is not an attack on third party presidential bids in general. I’m not claiming Dr. Paul can’t or won’t win the Republican nomination. I am merely asking Paul supporters to answer the following: if Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, would you support third party bids by all of the other candidates which would inevitably keep him out of office? After all, if Paul wins the nomination, the best route to the presidency for Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, et. al. will suddenly lie outside the Republican party.