Rand Paul got a strong endorsement from Representative Mick Mulvaney today. While many have written off the Paul campaign as dead, this endorsement and Paul's strong performance in the last debate remind us why Paul remains a viable candidate. Even as he has made enemies for his tough stands against NSA surveillance and for sound foreign policy, Paul commands respect among informed conservatives like Mulvaney. Most importantly, Rand has clout within the party that his father lacked.
To put this in perspective, Rand is currently 4th in 538's Endorsement Primary on the strength of 10 House endorsements and 1 Senate endorsement. (538 is the website of election prognosticator Nate Silver.) Whereas Ron Paul could be and often was portrayed as a solitary eccentric, Rand can point to his support among the Tea Party and Wacko Bird caucuses. We were told that Ron didn't have a coalition that can get anything done in Congress. Rand can be and has been effective in the Senate, and will make an effective president.
Having a growing coalition of legislative allies will also make it harder for party leaders to play games with the Paul delegates when national convention comes around. Paul and his supporters may not powerful enough to be considered "the establishment," but the establishment had better be worried this time around. Representative Mick Mulvaney summed it up nicely:
"There’s no way for me to avoid that the establishment wing of our party has lost its way. They don’t have any idea the damage they’re doing to the Republican Party. I called up Rand and said, I’ve had enough. We’re either going to figure out how to save this party or the establishment is going to drive it to irrelevance."