The Ron Paul Effect

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This week, I approached my research with the questions: what is it that I want to convey through my piece, and through what means of research and writing would I most effectively be able to do this?  I want to explore the attempts from conservatives to reach out to youth voters, and how this differs from the conservative youth’s attempts to reach out to youth voters.  From The Conservative Teen magazine, both conservative youth and curious observers were given the opportunity to view how the elder conservatives view the issues that they deem important to the youth of their party. 

What is particularly interesting for me to examine, and what I now believe will be an important facet to include in my piece is what has been dubbed, “The Ron Paul Effect.”  A January 2012 blog from former treasury secretary Robert Reich in the Huffington Post, says that in the New Hampshire primary, 47 percent of primary voters aged 18 through 29 voted for Ron Paul.  Reich’s blog also states that “No other Republican candidate has come nearly as close to winning over young voters — and the GOP desperately needs young voters. The median age of registered Republicans is rising faster than the median age of America.” 

With the popularity of such a unique and atypically Republican figure garnering the youth vote, one is inclined to ask – what is it exactly that makes Ron Paul so popular?  Is it his age, spritely nature, or his military experience? Perhaps. Or is it his knowledge of the medical profession? Maybe, as Reich proposes, it is his desire to bring America back to the gold standard.  These are all possibilities; the reasons for his popularity most likely differ from youth to youth.  Reich has a more direct belief as to why Paul is popular.  He writes, “Baloney. The young are flocking to Ron Paul because he wants to slice military spending, bring our troops home, stop government from spying on American citizens, and legalize pot.”  Now, while Reich is not the be-all, end-all on the issue of the youth vote, what he has to say hits home.  When contrasted to the issues of government debt and abstinence, as so forcefully evaluated in The Conservative Teen, it is no wonder that after a few days and many critiques, The Conservative Teen was retired.

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