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Ron Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American physician and U.S. congressman from Texas who ran for the Republican candidacy in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Following the disappointing turnout in the state primaries, Ron Paul effectively announced the suspension of his campaign in a press release on May 14th, 2012.
2008 Presidential Campaign
Ron Paul announced his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination on March 12th, 2007 after serving ten terms as a Texas congressman. Supported by a grassroots campaign, Paul supporters raised $4.3 million dollars online and $200,000 over the phone over the course of one day, November 5th, 2007. Organized via YouTube and ThisNovember5th.com in October 2007, the event came to be referred to as a “money bomb”, a fixed period of fundraising intended to greatly inflate a candidate’s campaign assets. This record-breaking event was covered by the New York Times, ABC News and on-air on CNN.
2012 Presidential Campaign
Following his supporters’ “Draft Ron Paul” initiative for the 2012 presidential election, Ron Paul officially declared his candidacy for President of the United States on May 13, 2011 in Exeter, New Hampshire.
In early January, social media research firm Socialbakers found that Ron Paul had the highest overall viral reach with just short of 60,000 people talking about him on Facebook the week of January 2nd. After the Iowa caucus, where Paul took third place, Sociagility published an infographic breaking down each candidate’s social media mentions. The week before the caucus, Paul had the most Twitter mentions as well as the most new YouTube subscribers. On February 22nd, 2012, opponent Rick Santorum aggressively shook Paul’s hand during the GOP candidate debate.
Following Super Tuesday on March 6th, Paul had not won any of the 23 nomination contests but managed to accumulate 47 delegates. On March 7th, the Wall Street Journal reported that Paul could still win the nomination if front-runner Romney could not reach the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination by holding a floor fight at the Republican Nation Convention in August. As of March 8, 2012, Ron Paul has 259,213 Twitter followers and 900,187 Facebook fans.
On May 14th, 2012, Ron Paul announced in a press release via e-mail that his team will cease the funding of campaign operations in the 11 remaining primaries, although he would continue to accumulate delegates for the Republican National Convention that will be held in August. Despite his lackluster performance in the state primaries with 104 out of 1,144 delegates, Ron Paul had been portrayed by his supporters in the news media and online as the underdog candidate, having raised more money than any of his former contenders (with the exception of President Obama and Mitt Romney) through online fundraising campaigns.
Ron Paul’s record of political beliefs and legislative votes has been subject to much debate. According to Wikipedia’s article on Ron Paul’s political positions:
Based on his presidential campaigns in 1988, 2008 and 2012, the political positions of Ron Paul have been described as conservative, libertarian and constitutionalist. In economic policies, Paul believes the size of federal government should be reduced significantly and has regularly voted against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes. According to National Journal’s review, Paul’s overall economic policies in 2010 have been described as more conservative than 78% of the House and more liberal than 22% of the House (85% and 15%, respectively for 2009). In 2006, as more conservative than 48% of the House and more liberal than 51% of the House. For 2008, his ratings were more conservative than 91% of the House and more liberal than 8% of the House (80% and 20%, respectively for 2007).
Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy has drawn a notable degree of grassroots support and donations. The decentralized structure of Paul’s support base became most evident after his announcement of presidential candidacy in late 2007, when a website was set up to raise $1 million per week by recruiting individuals to pledge the same amount on the same day each week.
During the last fiscal quarter of 2007, several fund-raising operations unaffiliated with the official campaign managed to raise more than $17 million, boosted by a record-breaking collection of $4.3 million in donations on November 5th alone. Described by the news media as a “money bomb,” this day-long campaign marked the largest amount of donation collected in a single day by any Republican candidate and the most successful online fund-raising campaign in a single day in American history.
Ron Paul Revolution
In addition to the fund-raising efforts, Paul’s supporters often work independently of the official campaign team or the Republican party to promote his public image and mobilize fund-raising campaigns, a phenomenon which has been described as the “Ron Paul Revolution.” Since its emergence during Paul’s presidential candidacy in 2008, supporters of the Ron Paul Revolution movement have been a staple part of his campaign rallies and identified by placards and t-shirts bearing the slogan or “EVOL,” a reversal of “LOVE” to represent peace and hope.
Ron Paul Festival
In the days leading up to the Republican National Convention on August 27th, 2012, core supporters of Ron Paul and the non-profit organization Liberty Unleashed held a three day-long music and activist-oriented festival known as the “Ron Paul Festival” (Paulefest) at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Although the event’s turnout of few thousand attendees was reported as far below the initial expectations put forth by the organizers, the festival drew some media coverage from mainstream news outlets as well as political blogs for the attendance from a diverse range of political and religious groups, most notably the John Birch Society and members of the Church of Scientology.
Ron [Paul] Swanson
On January 1st, 2012, a single-topic blog titled Ron [Paul] Swanson was created, pairing photos of Ron Paul with quotes from likeable Libertarian Ron Swanson, a character from the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. The site was featured on Uproxx and the Atlantic Wire.
A slew of Advice Animal image macros centered around portraits of Ron Paul have surfaced online since his announcement for the 2012 election bid, with strong results on image macro generator sites like Quickmeme and the social media aggregator site Reddit. On both sites, Ron Paul has been portrayed in a generally positive light across the board, reflecting his popularity amongst young conservatives on the web:
Spreading Ron Paul
Following in the footsteps of the negative Spreading Santorum and Spread Romney Google bombing campaigns, Paul fans preemptively created “Spreading Ron Paul” which provides a flattering definition of the candidate’s name:
Link to White Supremacist Parties
On February 2nd, 2012, hacktivist collective Anonymous published the text of e-mail exchanges made between Ron Paul’s campaign associates and members of the white supremacist group “American Third Party Position.” According to the statement released via Pastebin, Anonymous obtained the e-mail correspondence after hacking into the group’s e-mail account as part of Operation Blitzkrieg, an Anonymous operation targeting a list of white supremacist groups and forums on the web.
It further claimed that the hackers were able to obtain evidence of direct contacts and meetings between Paul and members of the group including Jamie Kelso. The accusations against Paul’s campaign were rapidly picked up by various news sites including International Business Times as well as political blogs like Daily Beast and Little Green Footballs. When asked by journalists about the accusations, Paul’s campaign spokesperson Gary Howard denied the story as “completely false, and a waste of time.”
Search for Ron Paul was on the radar in small doses throughout his early career and hit its first peak in January 2007 when he took second place in the Louisiana caucus, behind John McCain. A smaller peak happened in September 2008, possibly coinciding with the Montana Constitution Party announcing that Ron Paul would be their candidate. He asked to be removed from their ballot, but was denied. Search picked up again in May 2011 when he announced his bid for the 2012 Republican candidacy.
International Business Times – Anonymous Expose Nazi Third Position ‘Bridging Tactic’ with Ron Paul
Little Green Football – Anonymous Hacks White Supremacist Site, Finds Direct Links to Ron Paul
Washington Post – Ron Paul’s fans throw a party without guest of honor