Does Rand Paul endorsing Romney mean that the Paul acolytes will immediately cease and desist in their efforts to have their views heard? No. But more so than most people who support a politician, the Paul folks listen to Ron/Rand and follow their wishes.
Rand’s endorsement then — when coupled with Ron’s email to supporters earlier this week urging politeness at the national convention — are a net win for Romney because they virtually ensure that there won’t be a genuine insurrection led by supporters of Paul at the convention.Politico:
Mitt Romney won a valuable seal of approval Thursday night when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul endorsed him for president – even though Paul’s father, Ron Paul, has not formally withdrawn from the presidential race.
The younger Paul’s support could be a boon to Romney as he tries to rally one of the more elusive parts of the GOP coalition: the youthful, disaffected, libertarian-leaning activists who powered Ron Paul’s presidential run.
But the upside goes both ways on this one: while Paul is a helpful validator for Romney, endorsing Romney also gives Paul a level of mainstream credibility he lacked during his 2010 Senate campaign. It shows he’s willing to be a team player when it counts, and puts him on the safe side of any speculation over a third-party libertarian push.