So lately there's been some buzz about two political prospectives who each are quickly rising from the bottom of their respective party's pile of presidential contenders: Mike Gravel and Ron Paul. The faithful underdog champions of the internets are all up in arms over the traditional media's neglect (and sometimes outright censorship) of these lesser-known candidates. I've read both some impassioned clamoring on each of their behalves and some just as determined dismissing. At the very least, however, they seem to be two of the most interesting of the whole bunch. Probably because they're willing to gamble with their convictions rather than dance around the issues to the tune of the latest poll results in order to grab the majority vote. After all, when you're already at the bottom, what do you have to lose by being honest?
I have yet to see either one of these men in action, even on television or YouTube, so my judgment of them is based entirely on their stated (via their personal websites) stances. Which reflects both of them in a positive light. If these were the final two choices left to us, I might actually be compelled to seriously consider a main party candidate for the first time in eight years.
Mike Gravel comes out a bit ahead in my estimation. The democratic points I tend to take issue with the most - gun control, federalized health care - he takes a reasonable approach to, even offers reasonable solutions to, and the rest of his key platform planks I either suit me fine, or I feel I could deal with them with a minimum of fuss. Someone in his camp knows how to hire website designers, too. The campaign may be hurting for funds, but it still found a way to maintain a pretty, well-organized website. I bet that's demographic no one's tapped yet - the crowd who will vote for whomever seems to respect their web designers the most.
Ron Paul I have a great deal of respect for, but less genuine appreciation. He is being touted as essentially a libertarian up for the Republican nomination, and for all intents and purposes, that's true. He has all the right fiscal moves, and a strong anti-war stance. He also has a longtime reputation for not compromising his ideals on personal and private liberty. The biggest stumbling block for me? His strict anti-immigration policy. I dislike that in the first place, and also happen to think that offering a border wall as a viable solution is particularly lame.
I suppose historically people generally chose the recipient of their votes based upon the information they gained from the written word, rather than sight and sound. But the media-savvy, information age child that I am feels nervous making judgments without seeing what I'm judging. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I also suppose that's what YouTube is for.
In the end, though, the entire discussion, at least in my case, is moot. I strongly doubt either one of these men, however much the internet rallies in their causes, will secure their party's nominations. And, as a registered independent, I'm barred from helping to make a decision on either side. So - everyone choose wisely, so that I have a chance to do the same.