At last Saturday’s Republican Party of Kentucky meeting, where GOP leaders approved a proposal changing the state’s primary to a caucus system thus allowing U.S. Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul to run for the U.S. Senate and the presidency at the same time, Paul reportedly told long-time libertarian activist Donald Meinshausen that he would be willing to debate Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders “anytime, anyplace.”
Demand for a presidential debate between Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul appears to be rising online, as a Facebook page and petition have been created calling for the two to face off in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate tour. Quora and Reddit online communities have also floated the idea of calling for a Sanders-Paul debate.
On Saturday evening, longtime libertarian activist Donald Meinshausen, who now resides in Kentucky, published a Facebook post which said, “I just came back from the Republican Party meeting that was to decide on whether Kentucky is to have a caucus in 2016 to decide on the presidential nominee as Rand Paul wished. Rand Paul was there and the GOP went with his wishes so that Rand could be on the ballot for US Senate and for president in 2016 by a vote of 112-34. I talked to Rand about the idea of him having a debate with Bernie Sanders and he said; ‘Anytime, anyplace.’”
Truth in Media spoke exclusively with Meinshausen, a thought-leading libertarian activist who is known for having organized a draft card burning at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention. In the book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, Brian Doherty called the ’69 YAF convention’s draft card burning “a symbolic, flamboyant gesture… that many who were energized by it mark as the beginning of the modern libertarian movement.”
Meinshausen told Truth in Media that he attended the Republican Party of Kentucky’s meeting and personally asked Senator Rand Paul about the possibility of a debate between Paul and Sanders, prompting Paul to reportedly reply, “Anytime, anyplace.”
“I think that this could happen if Bernie gives his O.K. Rand needs this debate, right?” said Meinshausen. “Rand needs to re-brand himself as a thinker and a radical like his dad. The GOP will not give him flak as they need his help against Trump.”
Meinshausen raised concerns that Sanders’ campaign advisers might not want him to debate Paul during the primary season. “There is a rumor that Bernie is under pressure not to debate Rand,” said Meinshausen.
While it would be unusual for candidates from opposing parties to debate during a presidential primary, with candidates battling reality T.V. star Donald Trump for media attention, this election season seems to defy the normal rules.
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