Rand Paul, like Ted Cruz, will never be president. It is highly, highly unlikely either will be nominated. No, I will not say this about each candidate who announces. But it is notable that these two – who are essentially media creations – are the first two in. The alleged coalition Paul is striving to create is deeply improbable, if not downright impossible. But quite apart from that, and many other profound liabilities, there’s just one that will inevitably sink him: a long, long history of conspiracy theories which are uniformly whacky and often veer into the rantings of the militia, white supremacist and neo-confederate right. Here’s one that is simply whacky that came to mind as I was reading the Paul coverage this morning.
It goes back to 2008. And Rand Paul is campaigning for his father in Montana. And he’s railing against something called the “NAFTA Superhighway.” As Paul’s father wrote two years earlier, “Proponents envision a ten-lane colossus the width of several football fields, with freight and rail lines, fiber-optic cable lines, and oil and natural gas pipelines running alongside. … The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union – complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union.”
Haven’t heard of the NAFTA Superhighway? That’s because it doesn’t exist. It never has. It’s not just that it hasn’t been built. The whole thing is a concoction of the Alex Jones, freedomy militia far-right. Even Rand, warning about the dangers understood that people had to be careful talking about it since people might think you’re crazy. “It’s a real thing,” Rand told dad’s supporters, “and when you talk about it, the thing you just have to be aware of is that, if you talk about it like it’s a conspiracy, they’ll paint you as a nut.”
He also talks about the threat of the “Amero”, the mythical North American currency that Washington elites want to use to replace the dollar.
The Amero and the NAFTA Superhighway are more bizarre than dangerous or aligned with hate groups. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can get away with this stuff in a senate race in a conservative state. The national press knows about this stuff in general. But mainly ignores it. That all changes really fast in a presidential election.