I trudged up to the campus of Luther College Sunday night to talk to supporters of the Ron Paul campaign. He’s a hot property on the Internet and the last “hot property on the Internet” was Howard Dean. There’s nothing similar about Howard Dean, a liberal Democrat, and Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican, other than being hot properties on the Internet, if not the ballot box. I wanted to test a theory that people from different political backgrounds were coalescing around Dr. Paul, partly because of that Internet thing.
But Karl Amilie, right, a senior from Shoreview majoring in biology; Greg Schultz, center, a junior music major from Grand Forks; and Dan Summerfield, left, a junior from La Crescent, turned out to have come to the Republican candidate the old-fashioned way: they come from Republican families and are conservatives.
Amilie, who admits to playing online games in the past, has an explanation for Paul’s popularity: the Internet as metaphor. The Internet is free and open (that’s the country), and its defenders have turned aside efforts to restrict music downloading, or filter pornography, or end gambling, or tax purchases on it (that’s big government). His message, Amilie figures, plays well to a crowd that understands the metaphor.