The GOP’s snubbing of conservative-libertarian Ron Paul and his supporters may have cost Republican candidate Mitt Romney the presidential race, a new analysis shows.
Romney’s margin of loss to President Obama in five states – the swing states Florida, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and the dyed-blue Connecticut – were less than the number of votes Paul won during the Republican primary, shows political news website Policymic.
In Florida alone, President Obama defeated Romney by 46,000 votes while Paul got more than 117,000 votes in the primary. If only 40-percent of these Ron Paul Republicans stayed home on Election Day, it would have been enough to cost Romney the state and its 29 electoral votes.
Similar scenarios can be seen in the other states, whose combined 71 electoral votes would have been a game changer, giving Romney the presidency by a slim 277-261 victory over the President.
“Admittedly, the number of Paul votes and Romney’s loss margin are closer in the other four states than they are in Florida,” Policymic notes. “In New Hampshire, 71% of Paul votes are needed to make up the margin, while in Ohio and Virginia, that number is closer to 95%.”
The 71-year-old Paul was the only Republican candidate to invigorate young voters, who were the most energized base of support for any of the candidates running in the Republican primary. Exit polls showed young people came out in force to vote last Tuesday, a growing trend.
Instead of looking for ways to bring Ron Paul and his followers into the GOP fold, Republican operatives looked to brand them as “tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists” and worse. Paul’s views on foreign and economic policy, as well as a libertarian approach on social issues, scared away the Republican establishment.
A prolonged Republican primary that saw Ron Paul supporters swindled out of victories during the delegate process and several incidents at the National convention embittered many from voting for Romney, who opted to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson or stay home instead.
“It’s a shame the party hasn’t been more welcoming of these young people,” confessed a Romney delegate to Policymic at the RNC last August.