The Republican Party is on its deathbed. Demographic data shows its old school supporters are dying off.
In late 2007 and throughout 2008, the Republican Party saw growth. The growth, by and large, came from Ron Paul's supporters entering the Republican Party or becoming more active in the party and recruiting others.
Ron Paul's supporters held nationwide events in December 2007 called "tea parties." They were sick and tired of the bad fiscal policy of the Bush years. Bush had been the least fiscally conservative president to date at that point – racking up more debt than his 42 predecessors combined. The Republican establishment remained quiet as Ron Paul's supporters formed tea party groups and criticized the Republicans for being as bad with fiscal policy as the Democrats. It was about principal, not party.
By 2010, the Republican establishment had largely co-opted the Tea Party movement and it became more partisan than principled. I'm still trying to get my name off Tea Party mailing lists of groups that started out solidly, but have turned into partisan hacks.
In 2012, the Republican Party saw growth again. Until August 2012, after being insulted in state after state it was possible that Ron Paul's supporters would show support for the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. At any moment, Romney could have changed his tune and made nice. For Ron Paul's supporters, after all, it was always about principle.
The nominee failed. He didn't make nice and more importantly, he didn't change his tune: On election day, the GOP nominee sounded an awful lot like the Democratic incumbent.
In 2016, the Republican Party will again see a surge of new blood. Ron Paul overwhelmingly gets the support of the troops, the youth, and independents, when pitted against candidates of all parties. He beats Republicans among minority voters. Ron Paul grows the Republican Party, and brings conservatives, libertarians, and Democrats across the aisle in numbers much higher than other Republicans attract those voters. After all, common sense is a nonpartisan notion.
To avoid being trounced again, the Republicans need Ron Paul. They need him on the ticket on Election Day – November 8, 2016 – making a significant contribution to policy decisions in the White House.
At the age of 90 or 100 or 110 or whatever age Ron Paul is, the man is healthier by all measures than Gingrich, Christy, or even Obama. Nothing should stop Ron Paul from running in 2016 and nothing should stop Republicans from choosing the candidate who most grows the party. Without a candidate like that, Republicans will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Unprincipled, moderate candidates have a 40 year track record of doing exactly that. Principled candidates like Ron Paul win elections.
To do anything else other than nominate Ron Paul in 2016 would be foolish. It's time to put Ron Paul on the ticket – a principled candidate who grows the Republican Party, expands its base, and emboldens its activists.