As the California primaries quickly approach, it’s great to see first-time voters getting involved. However, you still need to be careful about your choices. For example, it has become impossible to avoid Ron Paul’s supporters on campus. Even the opinion pages of the decidedly liberal Daily Nexus are teeming with students declaring their allegiance to the candidate because he “just seems so truthful.” The reality of the situation is that supporting Paul is indefensible for any liberal who has actually researched his voting record. His popularity amongst the Democrats and Libertarians on campus seems to be based entirely on their ignorance of his actual policies.

For starters, Paul wants to put an end to the federal income tax. While having extra cash sounds fun, think of all the basic government services that would disappear without the tax. In addition, he wants to do away with the IRS, FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security. He also believes the Dept. of Education should be dismantled, federal standards and certifications for teachers eradicated and home schooling no longer federally regulated.

But wait – that’s not all. Paul also advocates a return to the gold standard. Assuming this plan were set into motion, there would not be enough gold in the world to supply the U.S. economy. Furthermore, a return to the gold standard would likely trigger massive deflation and a crippling economic depression. For someone who claims to have the average American’s economic interest at heart, Paul has some egregiously irresponsible fiscal policies.

Another issue cropping up repeatedly is his supporters’ insistence that Paul, unlike other candidates, is a very honest politician. Yet his double-talking on the issue of abortion demonstrates Paul is still a shady politician at heart. On one hand, Paul claims his beef with Roe v. Wade stems from his belief that the power to make decisions about a woman’s right to choose lies with the states. Yet on the other hand, he votes to support a federal ban on abortion. Furthermore, Paul goes on record referring to the ban as the “partial-birth abortion ban” and claims it is a “gruesome and unnecessary procedure.” As an OB/GYN, it is undeniable Paul realizes that “partial-birth abortion” is not a true medical term and further must be aware that the procedure – called a Dilation and Evacuation – is medically safe and able to be performed as early as 12 weeks into a pregnancy. Indeed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents over 90 percent of all the OB/GYNs in the U.S., says “the intervention of legislative bodies into medical decision making is inappropriate, ill-advised and dangerous.” I am baffled as to why many ardent pro-choicers are willing to put aside their beliefs and vote for a doctor who openly lies about medical procedures and likens abortion to mass murder.

Paul’s voting record also reveals additional damaging information about his personal politics. In 1999, Paul voted yes to ban adoptions made by same-sex couples and later voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would illegalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. He also supports the continued existence of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which restricts the freedom of openly queer individuals from serving in the military. Paul has also gained the ire of the African-American community by openly criticizing the Civil Rights Act and claiming, in his 1992 periodical, The Ron Paul Survival Report, “We can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

Finally, the U.S.’s large immigrant population has nothing to gain from his presidency, as demonstrated by Paul’s latest campaign commercial. Paul promises to end illegal immigration by denying refugees amnesty, ending welfare for illegal aliens and ending birthright citizenship. Furthermore, he promises “no more student visas from terrorist nations.”

Even if Congress were to block Paul’s bizarre and damaging legislation, why should you vote for a candidate who has so many unrealistic and backwards policies? Please make sure to research your candidates carefully before casting your vote. Or if you really want to vote for a kook, vote for Kucinich. He’s relatively harmless…