At the close of the Pennsylvania primary, I wrote that I was mostly done with reporting the state-by-state results of the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary. For the most part, that is true, but there was one other result from Tuesday night that is worth reporting.

Rhode Island, like most New England states, is currently very politically liberal, and fairly unimportant in both the primary and general elections, for the Republican Party. It is also a small state, meaning it has a small amount of electoral votes, and delegates. But Rhode Island could have been important for one reason: like much of New England, what Republicans it does have tend to be libertarian-leaning. It is one of about three remaining states (the others being Oregon and Montana) where Ron Paul could pull out a win. After all, with the primary being already settled, Mitt Romney's supporters had no reason to turn out, but Ron Paul's supporters did have a reason to. Perhaps, even though the primary has been "settled", Paul could win a moral victory of sorts.

Alas, it was not to be. Mitt Romney won 63% of the vote, while Ron Paul won 24% of the vote, with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both getting 6% of the vote. 24% is not a bad number, and it certainly proves that in this election, Paul is not just a niche or protest candidate, but speaks for a good minority of Republicans. But still, even in conditions that are about as ideal as he is going to get, he was not able to break 25% of the vote.

The National Lampoon once made a joke to the effect that while it is believed that the ostrich is flightless, an ostrich can actually fly---if it has a running start, rocket-assisted take-off, the body of a completely different bird, and the desire to do so. In some ways, Paul's electoral position is like an ostrich attempting to fly. He just needs a state with a demographic favorable to him, in an election where his opponents supporters have no reason to turn out, and he also needs a completely different electorate.

While Ron Paul's support, especially amongst youth, means that his beliefs will probably gain traction in future elections, the result in Rhode Island, amongst other places, shows that it is currently practically impossible for Paul to win a victory, even under near-ideal circumstances.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.