The New York Times considers the future of Ron Paul-inspired pro-liberty Republicans:
The purity of the movement’s principles has long left it in self-imposed isolation. The minimalist role it envisions for government repels a vast majority of Democrats; its noninterventionist foreign policy and live-and-let-live social views repel most Republicans. . . .
Simple generational change could give the movement a boost in elections to come. Younger voters of all stripes display increasing tolerance on social issues like same-sex marriage; the fiscal conservatives among them will fit into the libertarian camp far more easily than older, conservative Christian Republicans. In New Hampshire [where Paul placed second to Romney], for instance, Mr. Paul drew half his votes from people under 45. Three-fourths of Mr. Romney’s votes came from people 45 and older.
No one is saying it won’t be a challenge, but the fight must be engaged. Simply working to elect big-government Democrats whose agenda is pro-gay but promises a menu of ever-increasing bureaucratic statism means that gay legal equality gets forever tagged as part of anti-liberty leftism.
Paul wasn’t right on everything, but he opposed the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, calling it a “very bad idea,” and voted to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” citing his conversations with gay veterans. More on Ron Paul and marriage equality, here and here.
More. From the Washington Times, “Paul forecasts a libertarian storm brewing.” Ron Paul bids farewell to his supporters, telling them that the cause of liberty is bigger than any convention or election:
“We will get into the ‘[Republican] tent, believe me,” he said. “Because we will become the tent, eventually.”
But Paul-style libertarians (unlike many tea party activists) are at ideological odds with big government social conservatives, and many say they will not vote for Romney (or Obama). The only way they can “become the tent” is if the theocratic right diminishes.
Furthermore. Michael Barone observes: “conservative stands on cultural issues have repelled affluent suburbanites, particularly unmarried women…. (Republicans) need to add votes from other groups to win. White noncollege voters and white evangelical Christians were only 42% and 37%, respectively, of the winning Republican coalition in the 2010 congressional elections.”