Building a movement takes generations. Progressives know this. Neoconservatives know this.
Libertarians ought to know it too.
Rand Paul’s exit from the presidential race is a short-term loss. Sen. Paul stood as an intelligent contrast to the status quo amid constant calls for more debt and more war.
That crucial work doesn’t end with the suspension of one campaign.
Ron Paul has always said the liberty movement isn’t about any one person. While politicians like Rand Paul and allies such as Reps. Justin Amash and Thomas Massie certainly stand out, the cause of spreading liberty is just as diverse and broad as the free market itself.
It has become clear that at this moment in time, the American electorate was not prepared to support a liberty Republican for president.
But it doesn’t mean our work suddenly comes to a halt. We must continue to embrace an all-of-the-above approach to spreading our message.
Should we focus on politics? Work on single issues only? How about a third party? Or do we continue trying to influence the GOP? Isn’t education what matters more than changing the government? What about liberty-focused entrepreneurship?
All of it. Each and every facet.
Because the more that pro-liberty ideas are part of our discourse and culture, the better for everyone. Whether you’re impacting academia, government, business, or people’s worldviews, you’re making a difference.
It’s true that for many—especially those who’ve poured so much blood, sweat, and tears into the Rand Paul campaign—this news feels like a great loss. Mourning is appropriate.
But look around. What do you see?
Nearly a decade after I joined this movement, I detect a strong generational shift. The young Republicans I know are much friendlier to liberty than many in older generations. Men like Ron and Rand Paul helped bring them into the system, and everyone is playing their individual part.
The ideas of liberty are far more mainstream in both politics and public life than they were when I entered my twenties and heard about Ron Paul’s presidential campaign for the first time.
Our vast and growing liberty community is an achievement in its own right. Yes, there are factions. Yes, we have our differences. But we have organizational gusto. We’ve proven it before, and will continue to grow as time passes.
Now is not the time to give up, but rather to double down in our resolve.
“Today, I will end where I began: Ready and willing to fight for the cause of liberty,” said Rand Paul as he officially ended his presidential campaign.
But he wasn’t giving up on our overall campaign.
I hope you’ll join him in continuing to make a difference to the best of your abilities. We’ve fought hard and gained a lot of ground. Let your present disappointment morph into the courage needed to continue fighting on all fronts.
We’ve only just begun.