Ultimately, it’s the endgame of these two senators that will matter. As everything plays out, we’ll see which will become more important: expansion or holding closer to conservative ideals.
Andrew Cline of New Hampshire Union Leader writes:
Among a day’s worth of speakers [at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit], Paul and Cruz were the marquee acts. Though their ideological differences were apparent, more interesting was the huge gulf between Paul’s end game and Cruz’s. …
[Rand Paul’s] visits to Howard University and Cal-Berkeley were not publicity stunts. They were coalition-building exercises. Paul was not preaching purity. Like the Country Club Republicans he disparages, he spoke repeatedly of the need to win elections. His plan for winning, though, is new and untested within the GOP fold. …
By contrast, Cruz embraces the GOP’s traditional three-legged stool of economic, social and defense conservatism, and he made a point of saying so on Saturday. He expressed no interest in expanding the party base. His goal is to energize the base that is there. It is his entire political focus, which he made perfectly clear.
An analyst on U.S. News wasn’t surprised by the different approaches Cruz and Paul took at Freedom Summit:
“Cruz is making an introduction to New Hampshire voters… Rand’s relationship goes deeper, he is at a different stage in the process,” said the strategist.
However, does Rand need to attract more support from the “more traditionally Republican segments”? The GOP nomination for 2016 is crucial, but the Republican party won’t make it if it tries to stick to the same old message.
Chris Moody of Yahoo News writes:
Paul is steadily working to carve an important niche among Republicans as a voice in the ongoing effort to remake the party at the national level. To win a general election, presidential candidates need to appeal to broad swaths of voters — not just hardcore conservatives — and Paul, who on many issues is a hardcore conservative, is crafting a plan that he thinks will do just that. And yet Paul’s most skeptical audience may well be inside the Republican Party itself.
As one veteran Republican told HuffPost:
“There are not enough Tea Party people, not enough libertarian people, not enough socially conservative people to win a Republican nomination, by definition,” said veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who runs polling for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, another possible 2016 hopeful.
“Anyone who comes from one of those traditions must expand beyond that tradition to win,” Ayres said.
Senator Rand Paul is shaking things up, and this goes beyond the Freedom Summit. But is he hitting the right notes to get the support he’ll need for 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Get some action going by visiting our Facebook page. Or create a stir by sending us a tweet.
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