A major divide is beginning to open among Ron Paul supporters. On one side are those who advocate with his campaign that he continue to stay in the GOP race and win delegates. On the other side are those like myself who advocate Ron Paul going independent or third party now. ( I advocate the former as a better means of reaching a broader audience.)
While some who advocate the delegate strategy believe that he can still win the GOP nomination, most probably Ron Paul will finish second in the delegate count and Romney will fall short of a majority. That's a doable and I would say likely outcome. His campaign should be commended for this outcome and if they mange to pull off a plurality of delegates, they will make history. What they hope for is probably not that Ron Paul will win a brokered convention but that with enough libertarian delegates in place, the party can be changed over the next two or three elections, especially as demographics catch up with the greatly old party.
As wrong as I believe this strategy to be, it is not without merit. It calls for patient endurance rather than apocalyptic urgency, and that may be the best course. However, advocates of the delegate strategy go astray in assuming that if Ron Paul drops out of the race and runs independent or third party, his supporters will quit trying to get elected as delegates and local and state party officials. Is there a rule that says once a candidate suspends or ends his campaign, he can no longer have any of his supporters run to become a delegate?
The two strategies need not be mutually exclusive. Ron Paul can decide to run as an independent now and get his name on ballots nationwide. While he does this, there is nothing to prevent his supporters from continuing their quest to vote for him in the primaries and pursue opportunities to become Republican delegates and leaders at local, state and national levels.
Ron Paul needs to say to his supporters, "Run for office, run to be a delegate, run to become state and precinct chairs. Do this while I do what is necessary to get my name on the general election ballot in all states. I have not given up hope on reforming the Republican party. Your participation in the process is vital to returning this party to its roots in liberty. However, our nation cannot wait through a another 4 years of warfare and corporate welfare and passing on debt to future generations. This purpose of liberating our nation from the shackles of corporate cronyism is bigger than any party or ideology. Many Americans who do not share my economic views know that something must be done now which neither party is willing to do. I therefore today announce my intention to run for the presidency of the United States of America as an independent candidate. I will seek out a coalition partner to run with me and form a trans-partisan alliance to regain our country for its people."