Don't be fooled: Rand Paul is not the candidate you're looking for.
Rand Paul bills himself as a flag bearer for America's favorite motto – liberty.
And he's certainly got the pedigree for it – his father, Ron Paul, once ignited libertarian fervor around the country, and the younger Mr. Paul seems to have picked up a lot of his dad's ideology.
That connection is only one of his many appeals.
He's got a little something for everyone – a new sense of hawkishness on foreign policy for the conservatives who previously criticized his isolationism, a push to legalize marijuana for the liberals and support for the idea that vaccines cause "mental disorders" just thrown in there for the conspiracy theorists.
Just to be clear, Rand Paul has a degree in medicine from Duke University. If he actually thinks that, they might want to consider revoking it.
If it looks like these pieces won't come together to form a cohesive whole, it's because they won't. Rand Paul is a true chimera – a beast made up of pieces from all sorts of different animals – and while that's the main reason why he'll never be able to win a general election, it's also what makes him potentially dangerous as a spoiler.
The first group that will naturally gravitate toward him are the libertarians, who take the Paul name and assume that a libertarian is what they will get.
And to be fair, he does carry on his father's mantle in many ways, talking about ending government debt (right!) and advocating for states' rights on issues like gay marriage (which, to be clear, he personally opposes).
He's not a true libertarian, though. He defines himself as “libertarian-ish," which will still probably be enough to get him the approximately 11 percent of the American electorate made up of libertarians.
As you probably notice, 11 percent is not enough to win an election. Rand Paul has also noticed this.
In order to gain more potential voters, he's turned to the Tea Party. While he finds himself in competition there with several of the other candidates – including Ted Cruz, the only other officially declared Republican presidential candidate – some of his views will certainly find great appeal here.
For example, he wasn't invited to the NRA Convention currently going on, but it's not because of his lack of support for gun rights. He has an A rating from the NRA on that count. Instead, it's because he's now been associated for many years with the National Association for Gun Rights, an organization that claims that the NRA is too soft.
His views on abortion will attract the same sorts of people – like so many small-government conservatives, he does not believe that small government should extend to include women being able to control their own bodies.
Speaking of women, he's unintentionally revealed that he has a bit of a tendency to mansplain, particularly to female reporters when they ask him a question he finds difficult to answer.
As perennial conservative teddy-bear favorite Mike Huckabee said in response, “This is the big leagues.”
In other words, you're gonna have to learn to deal with it, buddy.
When faced with the accusation he was being particularly hard on female reporters, Paul claimed he was equally "testy" with female and male members of the media.
Oh, thanks, Rand Paul. That makes it totally better. You're not sexist, you're just a jerk.
He's been just as dismissive of other well-warranted comments about his actions, like, for example, when Rachel Maddow pointed out that he had plagiarized part of a speech directly from Wikipedia.
In response, he called Maddow a "hater," which shouldn't be surprising, given she is a female journalist.
His approach, for now, seems to be a little, let's say, "unpolished." He's got the ideological incompatibility, antagonistic relationship with the media and an inability to get along with members of his own party.
If he has any hope to become a legitimate candidate for his party, he'll have to deal with all of these factors, and ASAP.
The main danger he presents, even to Democrats, is that people could look at one thing he stands for and vote for him because of that, while ignoring the rest of his positions.
Millennials, particularly educated Millennials, are some of the most likely libertarian voters, and more liberal young people could also be drawn in by, for example, his stance on marijuana legalization.
Before he starts to look too appealing though, just remember all the ways he's pandering to the Republican establishment.
If he runs, it'll be on a GOP ticket, and he's going to need GOP voters. They going to have to be his base – and he's going to flip-flop all over the place to attract them and everyone else.
I'm going to say it right now – Ran Paul will not be the next president of America. Just don't let him take your vote on his path to defeat.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Elite Daily.
Citations: A libertarianish revolution (The Washington Post), Jeb Bush I love my father and my brother but I am my own man (The Washington Post), Rand Pauls kinder gentler libertarianism (Politico), Rand Paul You can trust me on foreign policy (CNN), Rand Paul joins Democratic senators to push marijuana legalization bill (The Washington Times), Rand Paul Vaccines Can Lead to Mental Disorders (NBC News), Rands stand (The Economist), Rand Paul Looks to Tea Party as He Prepares for War with Jeb and Hillary (The National Review), How Ted Cruz Stands Against Everything This Generation Believes In (Elite Daily), Why Rand Paul Is Unwelcome at NRA Gun Rights Convention (The Wall Street Journal)