The Republican vice presidential candidate responded that a vote for Paul, who ran for the 2012 GOP nomination, would effectively split the vote in a way that helps Obama.
Is this true?
Ryan is correct that third-party presidential candidates have played decisive roles in the past, not for their own campaigns but for the campaigns of Republicans and Democrats.
However, third-party candidates did not swing the previous two elections-the winners in 2004 and in 2008 still would have won even if their opponents had collected the sum of all third-party candidates' popular votes.
In the prior three elections (2000, 1996 and 1992), the third party votes would have been enough (the 2000 election is tricky because the candidate who won the popular vote ended up losing the race overall).
In 1996, Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by 8.53% of the popular vote, less than the 10.02% in votes that third-party candidates received. In 1992, the 19.51% in votes received by third-party candidates could have propelled George H.W. Bush to a win over Bill Clinton, since the Clinton margin of victory was only 5.56% of the popular vote.
Ironically, 1988 is the last time Ron Paul officially ran on a presidential ticket, and the election is notable for being one of those exceptions in which the third-party candidates could not have mathematically made a difference.
Ryan's worries about a drastic swing election, suffice it to say, are unwarranted beyond belief. This is simply more of the governmental strategy of making you so afraid of something that you'll fail to follow your conscience.
Does anyone really believe that four more years of Obama will be that much different than four years of Romney? Are Americans really that blind?
Are third-party voters betraying the Republican Party, or are these voters so disenfranchised by the the Republican Party's betrayal of Constitutional ideals?
Even if Ron Paul were to swing the election, is it possible that conservatives and libertarians feel that the message sentt by their symbolic votes of displeasure is more important than the Republican party winning a race to the White House?
For me, it is.