2016 Presidential Candidate Profile: Rand Paul

Alexander J. Segal's picture

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Candidate Profile: Rand Paul

Current Office: United States Senator from Kentucky

Party: Republican

Real Clear Politics Poll Average (as of December 6, 2015): National 2.0% (10th); Iowa 3.0% (7th); New Hampshire 4.0% (9th)1

Campaign Website: randpaul.com

Senator Rand Paul is running in the Republican primary for President. He is finishing his first term as the junior United States Senator from Kentucky and is running for a second term as Senator. He is also known for being the son of former Congressman and three-time Presidential candidate Ron Paul. Senator Paul is an ophthalmologist by trade.


Senator Paul opposed the gang of eight immigration reform efforts and opposes amnesty. However, Senator Paul supports providing legal status to certain persons here illegally after securing the border. He is open to citizenship for them down the line, provided that the border is secure. Senator Paul proposes legislation that would condition immigration reform on Congress' determination that the border is secure, rather than the President. He opposed DACA and DAPA. He vehemently opposes a national ID system as part of any immigration reform package.

Senator Paul is also a supporter of many legal immigration reform programs. He argues that we should see immigrants as assets rather than liabilities. As I have discussed on the blog [see blog], Senator Paul has proposed legislation [PDF version] to extend and expand the EB5 program.


While his father Ron Paul has a terrible record on Israel, Senator Rand Paul has been a friend of Israel in the Senate. On his campaign website, he touts his support for cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority so long as it is working with Hamas. However, Senator Paul has not been as strident of an opponent of the Iran deal as many of his opponents in the race. While he has been an ally of Israel in the Senate, I have concerns given his association with his Ron Paul's political base and his non-interventionist foreign policy instincts.

Issue of Interest - Libertarianism:

Senator Paul is running as a libertarian. His positions are idiosyncratic in some ways for a modern Republican. On one hand, he is the most conservative candidate in the race, along with Senator Ted Cruz [see blog], on issues regarding taxation, spending, and the size of government. However, Senator Paul takes an unusually non-interventionist position on foreign policy for a Republican. Furthermore, he has highlighted his ferocious opposition to the National Security Agency's (NSA's) bulk metadata collection program (and his opposition was undoubtedly a major factor in the program being ultimately scaled back).2


I think that Paul is a tremendous Senator and one of the strongest advocates for small government conservatism. Furthermore, he strikes one the best balances between immigration enforcement and immigration reform in the field. However, while his is a voice makes the Republican field stronger, I have too many questions about his support for Israel and his foreign policy views in general to consider voting for him for President. I am glad that he will likely retain his Senate seat after he is inevitably forced to withdraw from the Presidential race. I hope that we continue to have a Senator Paul from Kentucky for a long time.


  1. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html (Retrieved on December 6, 2015)
  2. It is important to note, however, that the scaling back did not go as far as Paul insisted it should.

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2016 Presidential Candidate Profile:  Rand Paul