Adam Graham
December 21, 2007
Man of the year: Trevor Lyman
By Adam Graham

Those of you reading this headline may wonder who the heck is Trevor Lyman?

A year ago, Trevor Lyman was a non-voter who ran a website to allow Independent Musicians to market to the general public. Yet, this year Lyman's three fundraising "Bombs" are responsible for raising $10.8 million for Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, making him most likely, the biggest Presidential fundraiser in a cycle where money has flowed freely.

Candidates usually pay a premium for this time of money, but not so with the Ron Paul campaign. Although the Paul campaign had to pay for was processing the donations on their website.

In addition to raising money for the official campaign, Lyman also spearheaded an effort to put a blimp bearing the name of candidate Paul in the air as an Independent effort. With the help of their attorney, Former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith, Lyman and friends even created an entity that could legally (pun intended) fly.

Lyman is hardly the only Paul supporter to show ingenuity and make sacrifices for the Paul campaign. While it's easy to highlight the nutty Ron Paul supporters, there are a large number of decent people too that have given media oxygen to a campaign that was ignored much of the year.

Through tireless efforts to spread their message, they've gotten a lot of people asking, "Who is Ron Paul?" The grassroots effort has taught many valuable lessons that many campaigns can learn from.

The passion and energy of Paul's supporters have drawn new people to his cause. It's undeniable that Paul has gained supporters since the start of his campaign, and those supporters have come through the passionate energy displayed by Paul's supporters. The supporters of Ron Paul have the energy and enthusiasm that's fundamentally lacking in the backers of most other campaigns. Some may think it undignified and there's no question some Paulites have crossed the line (thus detracting from his campaign.), the lack of enthusiasm among other candidates' supporters has led not only to the rise of Paul, but of the charismatic Governor Mike Huckabee.

Secondly, Paul supporters have shown a willingness to put their money where there mouth is. This is what differentiates Paul's standing from that of fellow Congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA). In a posting on Red State, last month a post urging Hunter to withdraw stated that the poster had intended to support Hunter "if he caught on." The fundamental difference between Paul supporters and those of Hunter is that Paul supporters led by Lyman didn't wait for Paul to catch on, they made it happen.

And let's be clear, Paul is here solely because of his supporters. A first-rate effort by the bulk of his supporters has made up for a third-rate staff and a damaging fringe of Paulites.

In October, I heard Alan Keyes speak at the Conservative Leadership Conference in the early Caucus state of Nevada. In his speech, he declared his campaign would hark back to a time when candidates didn't run for office, the people ran them. That's exactly what happened: but for Ron Paul. For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, Ron Paul skipped the Conservative Leadership Conference, instead opting to go to a gun show in the Cleveland, Ohio area. (For those wondering, Ohio doesn't vote until March.) Despite the presence of three other Candidates including Keyes, Hunter, and Mitt Romney, Paul won a straw poll of attendees 33-17 over Romney.

While, I'm not a Paul supporter (he's my third to last choice in this race), I'm too honest, not to be in awe of the accomplishments of average Americans led by a music promoter from Florida. I'm too smart not to try and learn from their successes and avoid their pitfalls.

While his efforts are unlikely to lead to the election of Ron Paul as President, Trevor Lyman and friends have rewritten the rules of grassroots politics, and have created a pathway that other campaigns can follow from longshots to contenders. They have shown citizens who only bellyache about the process that they can do something. Thanks to Trevor Lyman, those who complete our awful system or how their favorite candidate can't win will have no one to blame but themselves and their refusal to step up to the plate.

For these reason, most deservedly, Trevor Lyman is my pick for man of the year.

© Adam Graham

 

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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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