Ron Paul may be curtailing his bid for president but that does not mean it will lead to the end of his rabid supporters or their involvement in the Republican Party. Since running in 2008 Paul has steadily developed the infrastructure to support a national movement devoted to spreading his libertarianish ideas. In places where the formal Paul apparatus did not develop, supporters built one on their own and connected through the internet with the help of social networking tools. Paul has built a movement that, in many ways, will survive well beyond his presidential campaign.
One of the problems this movement presents for Paul, though, is that it is decentralized and often difficult to direct. There are all kinds of hints coming from the Paul camp that their move to end formal campaigning was driven by their displeasure with the activity they were seeing at state conventions around the country.
Paul is doing this in part to protect his brand and, most importantly, gain more control over it. If he continues collecting delegates to the convention in Tampa at the same steady pace he will walk in there with a couple hundred delegates pledged to him, easy. This gives him some weight to throw around on things like the party platform but it creates opportunities for him, and his infrastructure, to be humiliated, too. If Paul supporters get out of hand or do something extremely disruptive it will just feed into this idea that they are rude cultists willing to do anything to get their guy elected, further damaging the reputation of not only Paul but his son, Rand.
Libertarians, particularly of the Rothbardian/Ron Paul wing of the movement, are already strongly disliked by the heavy hitters in the GOP and their ideological consistency is extremely frustrating to the rank and file as well. A major commotion on the floor of the convention would only further alienate them while potentially crippling their ability to advancing their agenda. Paul knows this and he is trying to get out in front of it.
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