Is it time for a third party?
January 4, 2013 6 Comments
It has become increasingly clear, since November, that the Republican Party is not committed to the principles that, theoretically speaking, distinguish the GOP from the liberal party. Guardian readers are aware of recent and numerous episodes in which alleged conservatives have abandoned fundamental beliefs; we need not exhaust ourselves with a list of specifics. Suffice to say that the fiscal cliff deal (which was supported by Howard Coble and Richard Burr) is merely the latest in a long series of betrayals. The Right is frustrated, to say the least.
According to the results of our latest poll (in the right sidebar), 29 percent of respondents believe the GOP should maintain its principles but refine its language; meanwhile, 40 percent think the Republican Party should be overthrown by the Tea Party. (The “extreme,” “intemperate” nature of our readers is a tremendous source of pride!) Every week, we learn of another neighbor, coworker, or family member who has abandoned the Republican Party and become an unaffiliated voter. Some of these folks, pre-awakening, were GOP activists, and their departure from the lofty realm of “moderation” and “compromise” will sting the party. Justifiably so.
Admittedly, there is a deep sense of satisfaction derived from snubbing the GOP, but that should not be our sole objective. Other than changing one’s voter registration, what might the individual citizen do to advance the traditionalist/constitutionalist cause?
One option, let us call it “the nuclear option,” is the formation of a third party. For this draconian course of action, there is an increasing clamor. And while the impulse is understandable, we should bear in mind that third party movements have a long record of futility.
Nevertheless, there is no harm in discussing the idea, and how it could be implemented: How would such a movement be funded? What candidates could be persuaded to run under the new party’s banner, and would the new entity be called the “Tea Party,” or something else? What would prevent a third party from merely splitting the conservative vote, which would result in the election of more statists? Finally, what should be included in the new party’s platform?
On the final question, an excellent blueprint is the platform of the Constitution Party, a serious, profoundly conservative document: http://2012election.procon.org/sourcefiles/constitution-party-platform-2012.pdf
Let the conversation begin.
Charles Davenport Jr.