Rand Paul Stumps in Coffman Union



“Defeat the Washington Machine” signs covered the basement of Coffman Union on Tuesday, as U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul stumped prior to the debate in Milwaukee. Paul brought his brand of libertarian conservatism to an audience of roughly 150 students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Paul appeared optimistic and confident that his message has the potential to resonate with people across the country. In a pre-speech media unveiling, Paul pointed to his poll numbers in a two-way race with Hillary Clinton and argued that he would be uniquely suited to defeat the likely Democratic nominee.

During his roughly 30-minute stump speech, Paul touched on what he sees unconstitutional government oversight, needed drug law reform, fiscal conservatism, and a humble foreign policy. Audience members applauded Paul’s advocacy of the destroying racial disparities in drug laws and his stance on the Iraq war.

Paul likely surprised many audience members when he argued that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio have the same views on foreign policy, both of which being neoconservative. He pointed to the fact that each supported the Libyan war, a no-fly zone in Iraq, and their advocacy for foreign intervention.

Paul has the unique capacity as a Republican to capture the enthusiasm of college-aged students. When asked why he supports Paul for President, student Steven Cordes pointed to his willingness to audit the Federal Reserve, advocacy for the constitution, and his stance on states’ rights.

Much like his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, Rand Paul seems eager to differentiate himself from other Republicans. He strays from mainstream conservatism by shunning the neoconservative foreign policy ideology, campaigning for the destruction of the Patriot Act, and identifying as a D.C. outsider with a record battling both Democrats and mainstream Republican.

Paul appeared comfortable talking to students and made time to take pictures with those pledging to support him after the event. The event was hosted by Students for Rand, an organization of college students who support Rand Paul for President in 2016. Prior to the speech, Paul praised Students for Rand and the people of Minnesota for having a strong love of liberty. Paul is confident that his message will resonate, and that he can win the precinct caucuses here just a few months away.