LawFuel.com – A commentary on the election campaign and Ron Paul’s support base in Huffington Post referenced a comment in The Hill which said: “Ryan was asked why voters should not vote for Ron Paul. The Republican vice presidential candidate responded that a vote for Paul, who ran for the 2012 GOP nomination, would effectively split the vote in a way that helps Obama.
“Do you want Barack Obama to be reelected? Then don’t vote for Ron Paul,” Ryan said during a campaign speech in Lima, Ohio, on Monday.”
Commentatory Brian LaSorsa observed that in the previous elections third party candidates like Ron Paul did not swing the elections, which would still have been won even if their competitors received all third-party candidate votes.
So what of Ron Paul and those who want to vote for him?
LaSorsa thinks Ryan is right, to the extent that third party candidates like Ron Paul have decisive roles to play.
The election is tricky in 2000 because the candidate who won the popular vote ended up losing the race overall. Nonetheless, Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 0.51% of the popular vote. Third-party candidates received 3.72% — higher than the difference between 1st and 2nd place.
In 1996, Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by 8.53% of the popular vote. Third-party candidates received 10.02%.
Ryan’s worries about a drastic swing election, suffice it to say, are unwarranted beyond belief.
In 1992, Bill Clinton beat George H. W. Bush by 5.56% of the popular vote. Third-party candidates received an outstanding 19.51%.
Ironically, 1988 is the last time Ron Paul officially ran on a presidential ticket, and the election is notable for being one of those exceptions in which the third-party candidates could not have mathematically made a difference. George H. W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis by 7.72% of the popular vote. Ron Paul received 0.47%, meaning he would have needed to multiply this voter base by a factor of 16 before he even caught up to the difference between 1st and 2nd place.