Ron Paul: The Internet Candidate

As any presidential candidate will (or should) tell you, the Internet has become a major part of any campaign, and, like everything else on the net, is rapidly evolving not only as strategists become savvier about using the Web, but as the Web’s technology becomes more sophisticated as well.

On the day of the first presidential debate on CNN featuring questions from the YouTube community, it’s interesting to note that the candidate the most fervent online support after Barack Obama is Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who, while not the kind of guy that stands in line overnight for an iPhone, is smart enough to embrace the groundswell of support he's received on the Internet, and, in an extended election cycle which lends itself to experimentation, has been one of the frontrunners in exploring all that the web has to offer.

As this New York Times magazine article notes, he's the most "friended" Republican on MySpace, a video of him on YouTube has been viewed more than 280,000 times, and in the "demand horserace," where users make requests for candidates to appear in their towns, he’s beating Sen. John Edwards by a good 10,000 votes.

No one's really expecting Paul to win, though, which frees him up to explore a few more unconventional campaign strategies, such as being the first candidate to be interviewed by James Kotecki in his dorm room (see above) and appearing on "Attack of the Show," a program on G4, a cable channel whose coverage usually centers around the latest video games, and whose host referred to Paul as the "lonelygirl of the Republican Party." (Which I don't think Paul quite got.)

Of course, as Matt Debergalis of ActBlue will probably tell you, being really popular on the Web—which many ascribe to Paul's techno-savvy libertarian supporters—doesn't mean much if they can't deliver the dollars and the votes. Just ask Howard Dean. But Paul's willingness to try new things, even if he doesn't completely understand them, is having a trickle-down effect: Two months after Paul talked to Kotecki, the college student had also scored interviews with Mike Huckabee, Sen. Mike Gravel, and Edwards. In the end, Paul's greatest contribution to the election may not be what he adds to the political conversation, but how he adds to it.

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  • Jill Gabli

    I am neither a Libertarian or 'techno-savvy'. I am a real American who uses the Internet and is a maniacal supporter of Ron Paul. Also I DO expect him to win in a landslide. The MSM cannot continue to tell us who will win- we aren't going to take it anymore!
    This election gives all Americans a real chance to see what candidates believe- straight from the horse's mouth. Really a revolution.
    As for Barack Obama being more popular on the Internet- no way- show me your sources for that. Also there is quite a bit of evidence that his youtube views are inflated due to 'bots' viewing them. As a Ron Paul supporter posted:
    "Observers of your site have collected data that suggest that a BOT is running to inflate the views. One person observed for 13 minutes on July 13 and reported 305 views/minute in the early hours of the morning.

    "I just checked views over a 13-minute period between 3:12-3:30 am, CDT on July 14. The number of views increased by 3,989 for an average of 307 views/min. or 5.1 views/sec. The increase was very steady over this period, which is strong evidence of a BOT running. What the perpetrator does not realize is that he is shooting himself and Obama in the foot, because during the nearly 4,000 views, there was NOT ONE NEW SUBSCRIBER added. And, at last count, Obama was getting ONE subscriber for every 1,086 views. Compare that with the Ron Paul site which is showing ONE subscriber per 110 views. So, the efficiency of your campaign is looking worse and worse. You have 8,852 subscribers after 10 months or so. Ron Paul has 20,639 after 3.5 months. I suggest that you stop the BOT!"

    Please take the time to go watch a few of Ron Paul's speeches and I challenge you NOT to be moved.

  • grayboy

    Real Americans are sick and tired of the income tax, unchecked illegal invasion, "press 1 for English", a never-ending war policy, lying politicians, bankrupt social security, inflation caused by corrupt money policies, government intrusion into every aspect of our lives... you know, business as usual.

    Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air. He wants to restore freedom for, not just special interests, but for ALL Americans. When you think about it, you know he is right. He makes sense.

    It's a revolution that is catching on. Freedom is popular. I believe that the majority is still Real American. I expect him to win.

    Go Ron Paul!

  • Alec

    Interesting. He's currently polling around 5th or 6th at the survey site I'd expect him to be among the top 3 if he has the internet vote. Tough it looks like his Immigration policy is pretty highly favored amongst voters.

  • Paul

    I have been a Ron Paul fan since 2002 after seeing him interviewed by Bill Moyers. He has my full support and my vote. As the only candidate who has a chance, who is not a plastic puppet, I can't imagine voting for anyone else. Hillary, Willard (Mitt), Obama, McCain, Giuliani, Richardson, Edwards, etc. are all members of the CFR along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush #1, etc. Ron Paul is not a member of the CFR, or any of these groups that craft American policies in secret, out of reach to the American people.

  • Mark

    The Media does not like Paul this is why they always downplay him. First they gave him no coverage. Now they can't deny his power, so they give him bad coverage on his chances. Its all they have. There is no dirt on Paul

  • peaceman

    ron paul is the only "real" candidate talking about "real' issues that face "real" americans. I urge everyone unfamiliar to him to give the guy a closer look. He's not a real politician in the traditional sense. he is a comman american interested in preserving the liberty of everyday americans like you and me.

  • Dena

    I take issue with your comment "No one's really expecting Paul to win, though..." TOTALLY UNTRUE! There are a LOT of us who ARE expecting Ron Paul to win! This is the type of comment I'd expect to hear on Fox or CBS. What a disappointment!