President Paul?

It’s time to take Rand Paul seriously. With Chris Christie tanking over Bridgegate and Ted Cruz having antagonized most of the country (myself excluded) by shutting down the government, Rand Paul has emerged as the most viable Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Though it is still early, a recent Quinnapiac poll shows that Paul, along with Paul Ryan, leads in the Republican primary.

A few days ago, The Atlantic published a piece heralding the rise of Paul. And just today, The New York Times published a 5000 word profile on him. There are those who still dismiss Paul as a fringe candidate with no viability in 2016, but the press attention and poll numbers show otherwise. Ever since his filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination, Paul has been a mainstream candidate. He has reached out to donors and has made peace with the establishment while being remarkably savvy politically and with his policy perscriptions. Those who equate Rand with his father, Ron Paul, are being completely unfair.

Rand Paul is one of the few people in the Republican Party who has pushed for a bigger tent. He has made valiant efforts to appeal to minorities. And he is one of the few candidates who can get the youth vote. The strides he has made against the discriminatory and counterproductive drug war, overzealous government surveillance, and interventionist foreign policy all resonate with the direction that the country is heading in.

Whether or not you agree with Rand Paul, dismiss him at your peril.

–Brian Chen