With the Republican party in total disarray, having no clear front runner in sight, the Democratic party looks to have the edge in the upcoming election. However, there may be a part of the iceberg under the surface that few have noticed. While most eyes are on Hillary to win the nomination, Bernie Sanders may have an army of support that few have yet to recognize. In the previous two elections, one voice stood out as different from all the rest, that of Ron Paul. Dr. Paul preached a very different message of anti-establishment, anti-corporation, pro-free market, pro-freedom, pro-individual and pro-liberty policy. Ron Paul amassed a tremendous, authentic grass roots following, which at one point supplied him with $6 million in support overnight! Very few have bothered to question where this support has gone.
Most political pundits and gurus assume that Ron Paul was tied directly to the Tea Party, a right wing group which they had hoped had, for the most part, disappeared. And, that his son, Rand, had faded into the background with his unpopular, “quirky” Libertarian views. However, what very few realize is that the Tea Party was abducted by the efforts of Glenn Beck, William Kristol and other Neoconservatives when Ron Paul followers began to grow in numbers. The Tea Party then morphed into an Evangelical conservative movement which was Anti-Progressive and claimed to support smaller government but was strongly pro-military. This was a far cry from Ron Paul’s non-interventionist, total financial overhaul, highly principled, political stance. In fact, Dr. Paul had managed to establish grass roots support from several political parties including Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. Most of Dr. Paul’s supporters actually shunned any association with the Tea Party, despite his son’s attempt to brand himself as their principal voice.
Dr Paul’s emphasis on Liberty and government reduction found favor with liberals who saw that government over-reach was no better than big corporate over-reach, and in most cases were one and the same. Of course, Dr. Paul’s anti-war, bring-the-troops-home stance was very popular among Liberals and Progressives as well. Paul garnered support from some of the most unlikely places, especially considering that he was running on the Republican ticket. Paul’s son, Rand, was not so blessed. In aligning himself with the Tea Party, and later with the Republican Party itself, Rand lost much of the crossover and grassroots conservative support that his father had built. Rand also appeared to distance himself from his Libertarian roots during the debates in an attempt to gravitate more to “center”. As a result, his message appeared to be diluted, without the fire and passion his father had previously displayed.
During the debates, the Republican Party appeared to spend the bulk of its time romancing the Evangelical Christian voter with Trump leading the way. However, as the debates wore on it became clear that Trump’s message was more one of appeasement rather than actual substance. With concerted effort, again toward the Evangelical community, Ted Cruz was able to launch an effective counter attack. Another dynamic that is being overlooked presently is that the Evangelical political force is not nearly as powerful as it has been in times past. In fact, there is another spiritual awakening taking place and it has more to do with Consciousness and Awareness than the traditional “black and white” focus of religion. It is a sort of Hippie rebirth, which was often the nature and feel of the Ron Paul movement. It is a return to basics with an emphasis on humanitarian and compassionate expression and it has yet to show up on the political radar. It is very much turned off by authoritarianism and harsh religious dogma. It will not follow the same path as Evangelical conservatism.
To this powerful, yet sensitive voting force, Hillary represents everything that is wrong with politics; namely, corruption, power, greed, deceit, corporatism and cover up. The Republicans are… well, Republicans! To this numberless, faceless mass, Bernie Sanders’ voice is the only one that carries any appeal whatsoever. To the disenfranchised Ron Paul supporters, there is a familiar ring in Bernie’s rage against the machine and defiance of the 1 Percent. If he can tone down government over-reach and define his own view of “socialism”, as opposed to the more common understanding, he could quite possibly win over a massive body of support. It could very easily be an upset that no one saw coming.
Of course it remains to be seen whether or not this iceberg will surface, but Bernie’s message of “Peace and Love” will certainly resonate with the newly “Awakened”. Former Ron Paul supporters may not be happy about his plans to include government spending and legislation in helping out the less fortunate, but Bernie certainly has the right idea when it comes to corporatism and he beats any other alternative. Although Hillary is clearly the establishment choice for the nomination, it will certainly be interesting to see if this unseen mass makes an appearance on the other side of the aisle this time around.