A Third Party — Why It Wouldn’t Work — How It Can Work

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Here we go again

There is a quadrennial event many conservatives participate in, and no, it isn’t voting.  It is the call for a 3rd party.  Heck, it isn’t just conservatives.  There are many disenfranchised and dejected voters in this country across the spectrum. 

This election, once again, saw the Republican party nominate a man who really doesn’t embrace the core beliefs of a fiscal conservative.  Neither did he, like the long litany of nominees,  embrace the libertarian idea of a less intrusive government. 

Now, before I continue, let’s simply acknowledge that the ideas of conservatism and libertarianism hold different meanings to different people.  I realize that while most people who read this blog generally agree with the ideas expressed here, almost none is in total agreement.  It’s one of the things I love about this blog!  So, when I discuss conservatism and libertarianism, please consider them in general terms.

Many people, instead of desiring a more conservative Republican party, want a more moderate and compromising party.  They point to the disenfranchised Democrats as fruits ripe for picking.  Indeed, there are many.  But, there is the crux of the dilemma.  Consider the broad spectrum necessary to include all of these people. 

Why It Wont Work

It’s difficult enough to the social conservatives on the same page as fiscal conservatives.  Throw in a mix of moderates, and you’ve essentially have the Republican party.  We already have one of those.  If one takes that approach, the results would be to essentially split the Republican party.  We would end with an eternity of Democrat rule.  Any attempt to start a third party, in this manner, will be doomed to failure.  Worse, if the attempt becomes fragmented towards the specific political ideas, such as only fiscal conservatism, to the exclusion of all else, the movement would be marginalize more so than the Libertarians.   I was once a proud card carrying member of the Libertarian party back in the 90s.  Their lack of organization and messaging greatly disappointed me. 

Much of this, of course, is because there are two very powerful organization in control of …… well, everything.  It has been said before that Republicans are comfortable with losing.  And that’s true, as long as they are only losing to Democrats.  Democrats are the same.  Regardless of who wins either, the way the unwritten structure is, as long as things remain the same, Dems and Repubs will always share power and authority.  So the Repubs lost the presidency again, they still wield much power in Washington, and thus in your homes. 

How It Can Work

First, like in all things, learn from the mistakes of others.  I mentioned the Libertarians because they are a great example of fail.  Not the ideas, but the structure and message.  This year, they ran Gary Johnson for president.  Only political hounds such as ourselves would know who this person is.  Even the person they backed, Ron Paul, rejected them.  Again, not the ideas, but the structure and messaging. 

Many, if not most, of the Republican vote was against Barack Obama in this election, not necessarily for Mitt Romney.  As mentioned before, there was very little specifics offered that one could have pointed to and say “I back Romney because of X“.  But, that’s nothing really new. 

So what then?  Are many Americans doomed to live their lives without proper representation?  Well, they are unless they’re clever, cogent, convincing, and cooperative. 

There needs to be a strategy.  To simply walk down the street screaming your “tired of this and who’s with me?” will fail.  There are two semi-structures I believe are ripe for the picking.  People serious about a 3rd party should co-opt both of them.  The Libertarian party and the TEA party can be easily moved by a ground swell of people. 

What about The Moral Conservatives?

This should probably be in a separate post, but it’s is impossible to talk 3rd party without addressing this.  Before one can do this, though, one has to recognize the potential pratfalls.  There is an overlap of ideas embraced with people of the Libertarian and TEA parties.  But, they are not the same.  Some members of the TEA party are also strict anti-abortionist moral conservatives.  That message won’t fly with Libertarians.   What ever third party there is to be, a decision needs to be made early on how to deal with this dichotomy.  For the reasons listed above about splitting the Republican party, moral conservatives will have to find a voice outside the confines of a church or religious leader.  And, they have to decide.  Theirs ……. ours, is a unique problem.  It isn’t because we’re not being represented.  It is because moral conservatism is, in essence, a religious issue.  When I discuss moral conservatives in this context, I’m referring to morally conservative Christians.  The failure here isn’t at the ballot, the failure is at the pulpit and within the confines of the church.  In other words, the reason we’re having a difficulty at the present time is because Christianity in the US is in decline.  The stronger Christianity is in this country, the less difficulties moral conservatives would have at the ballot.  Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  We should take care that the people are moral and religious.  That fixes nearly all of the moral conservative issues. 

My personal observations and feelings about this is probably outside what typical moral conservatives believe.  I note:  God gave us the freedom to choose.  How is it then, that man would assume they have the right to choose for others?  I’m not saying don’t vote your conscience.  God forbid!  But, when the issues are religious, understand and temper some of the impositions on other people.  The abortion issue is a great question of this nation.  I respect and understand the views of the people who believe life begins at conception.  I’ll not give my views on this here, that is for an entirely different post.  But, we have to understand the political realities.  Simply put, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe there should be exceptions for rape and incest.  So, anti-abortionists have to take a different route in achieving our goal.  And, they have to make the arguments.  It isn’t good enough to say, “I believe X, therefore, I will impose my beliefs on you.”  THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!  Sorry, I get a bit worked up about this.  Anyone interested in how to present the argument in a manner that is close to good enough, please see people such as Mike Adams

For myself, moral conservatism, Libertarianism, and capitalism are easily joined.  God is the Father of Freedom.  Capitalism is fiscal freedom.  Libertarianism is the expression of personal freedom.  They all work hand in hand, none works without the other. 

Choose Your Areas

First, we must realize we’re not going to start with a presidential election.  It starts on the ground.  They call it “grassroots”, but, that’s probably not where we want to start.  You have to be clever about this.  What good does it do to start a 3rd party movement in Kansas or Oklahoma?  It can be easily done, but what is gained?  Nothing.  And, much is lost.  Consider if there became a strong 3rd party in such places and we did get someone on the presidential ballot.  Then people like Obama win by even a larger margin, and the opposition is weaker.  Ross Perot showed us a few things.  Money talks.  The trick would be to get some wealthy megalomaniac to back a 3rd party, but not to be the visible head.  But, this brings us back to where should there be a 3rd party base.  If the objective is to bring about a new balance of power, then one has to go to where the Dems have power. 

One needs to understand the winds of change and use it to the advantage, not disadvantage.  The messaging in specific locations is important.  As a reader noted, there were some initiatives regarding marijuana and same-sex marriage which passed in some of the states.  Whether you agree with these ideas or not, this tells us people in these areas are ripe for the message of individual liberty.  So, in those places, you start there and bring an articulate, convincing argument to those people and tie the fiscal liberty to such an argument.  Other places around this country are devastated fiscally, go there and bring the articulate and convincing argument there, except reverse the first part of the message, and tie individual liberty to the fiscal concerns. 

I would seek cooperation with the Republican party.  Much was made about Romney’s 47% statement.  But, what he was saying was that the Repubs have given up on a large segment of our population.  Their message will not reach them, so they’ve concentrated in areas where it will.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but, if that segment gets any larger, in a two party system, there’s no chance of the Repubs ever winning a presidency again.  I think the 47% is exaggerated, but it is still a large segment the Repubs have withdrawn from.  So, get a structure, get a convincing message, go to the Repubs and make an agreement.  Gain the 3rd party in places where Repubs could win, if, a 3rd party took more from the Dems than them.  Go to Oregon.  Go to Connecticut.  Go to New Jersey.  Seek Repub support in these places to get a foothold.  You might get some of that Koch money.  If you do it right in New York, you might even get some Bloomberg money.  Wouldn’t that be delicious irony?  Once established, then one can get some Dem money to move in the other areas.  Then, you have a legitimate 3rd party where the other parties have to work with you to succeed. 

The message has to be clear.  The message has to make sense to the people on the ground.  And the message has to be convincing. 

Please note:  While I included some specific issues which many are divided on, these issues were only used as examples and are political observations only.  Other an my personal belief

God is the Father of Freedom. Capitalism is fiscal freedom. Libertarianism is the expression of personal freedom. They all work hand in hand, none works without the other.

I haven’t stated an endorsement or rejection of the specific issues.  Please don’t interpret them as such.  This is a political discussion.  

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21 Responses to A Third Party — Why It Wouldn’t Work — How It Can Work

  1. philjourdan says:

    It will take 40 years for a 3rd party to be big enough to challenge the democrats. I do not have that much time. But I am willing to start now. The Tea party has to divorce itself from the Republicans. The Republicans can then play with the democrats and ruin everything – blaming everyone but themselves. And when it gets to the point where nothing functions, then the Tea Party can begin the rebuilding process. It took Russia 70 years to learn that lesson. It will take us longer because we had the benefit of hindsight – and we still did not learn.

  2. kelly liddle says:

    First thing that has to be done is preferencial voting where other candidates can’t eliminate the vote to the Rep or Dem and also means people are much more likely to vote for who they want (Gary Johnson in theory would have recieved maybe 10% of the vote this being the case). This would almost be impossible to get up and I think you would find furious agreement by the 2 main parties on this issue.

  3. leftinbrooklyn says:

    All good points, I just think that what could turn out to be the most important factor was not really addressed: the destruction that this current radical Democratic party will bring upon itself. I think Dems are about to get what they think they wanted, and most will realize that they don’t like it.

    The last four years were buffered by increased government handouts. That won’t last forever. Hungry, cold, unemployed people will only stick with a label for so long. We might be seeing the last time a ‘Democrat’ will hold the presidency. As I posted earlier, we may not be looking to create a valid 3rd party, but instead something to replace what was the Democratic Party.

    • suyts says:

      I would have thought the Dems would have had enough during the last four years.

      • leftinbrooklyn says:

        But that was nothing compared to what is most likely coming. All the ridiculous ‘war on women, war on gays, gonna put ya back in chains, get some revenge’ nonsense goes out the window fast when they turn your lights off ’cause you can’t pay your electric bill. And it’s been months since your last unemployment check.

      • suyts says:

        Agreed. Things are going to get real serious, real soon.

  4. Jim Masterson says:

    This is a ______ post! Third parties don’t work–they just screw up the numbers. The Republican party was never a third party. The Whigs collapsed after failing to prevent passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Republicans were then a coalition of Whigs and various anti-slavery parties. They came in second (not third) in the next Presidential election, and Lincoln won the following election.

    What should happen is all of these silly loser parties should add their ideas and numbers to the Republican party. You can’t change a party from the outside.

    If you’re expecting that a third party will beat the Republicans, then why bother having a second party. Why don’t we all just join the Democrats? That will fix everything–one party rule. (Do I need to show sarcasm here?)

    Jim

    • suyts says:

      Lol, no you don’t need to note the sarcasm. But, that was part of my post that I hope wasn’t lost on people. If there is to be a 3rd party, it can’t be to beat the Repubs. It will fail. It has to be in cooperation and collation with the Repubs. At least for the first several years. I would think the Repubs would enjoy and endorse 3rd parties in places like Cali and New York, provided the targets are people not willing to vote Repub.

  5. Drama says:

    I agree with you.

    My summary of the matter is this. If conversatives are for small government, that also means they generally speaking, favor allowing people to control and their own lives and decide for themselves.

    I think it’s possible to get the moral conservatives to adjust if they can be convinced that the issue sticks on a personal level only, meaning like you said “I believe X, therefore, I will impose my beliefs on you.” Instead get them to support their own position, enabling them in that regard but not giving them the power to hold it over others because in small government everyone gets to make their own choice and it’s a personal one that involves no aspect of the government whatsoever. Abortion is of course the best and biggest moral issue, solve that and the rest should be easy.

    Like you said the problem is a lack of clear messaging. Don’t try to sway their morals, so much as try to convince them that they can have their morals under your system and so does everyone else. I know it sounds like a tough sell, but it’s something different to try.

  6. cdquarles says:

    James, I agree with you. Nevertheless, one should never duck reality, particularly with abortion. By moral and biological definition, human life begins with conception. By extension, the baby has the same God given right to life, liberty and property as the parents. Neither have the God given right to interfere unless there is a real conflict. Life of the mother is obvious, and I doubt anyone disagrees that abortion, where both can’t be saved, would be justifiable. Remember, what we are dealing with in reality is homicide and where and when homicide is justified. Abortion on demand, though, is simply saying Person A can kill Person B whenever it is convenient and that is immoral (time since conception means nothing logically here). The state must get involved (preferably only at the State level … not Federal) whenever a judgment must be made with respect to the conflicting rights. This is why pregnancy as a result of rape or incest is problematic. The baby is as much innocent as the mother (mostly, but never forget women can rape men, particularly when dealing with statutory rape). Generally, though, most folk would accept the rape or incest exception. The most problematic one, for me, is ‘health of the mother’. Life of the mother is generally obvious. Health is not. Some compromise should be sought here, but Roe v. Wade and the second case, whose name escapes me at the moment, short circuited that by Federalizing, essentially, abortion on demand.

    I have never been a Democrat. My grandparents saw to that (indirectly). I have been a card carrying Republican and a card carrying Libertarian. If you want to label me, then I am an American first, Christian by the grace of the Almighty, conservative (Burkean/Lockeian) libertarian (that is, a classical Liberal).

    • Jim Masterson says:

      >>
      cdquarles says:
      November 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      The most problematic one, for me, is ‘health of the mother’.
      <<

      Actually we’re past all of that. We’re now down to the convenience of the mother.

      Jim

    • suyts says:

      “Health” is such an ambiguous term it can mean almost anything.

  7. Bruce says:

    Its a nice idea but it can’t work in a completely first past the post environment like the US. Or I should say it can’t work for conservatives. It might work for lefties via the populist approach (think Kirchner in Argentina, Chavez in Venezuela).

    In countries like Australia we have a more or less proportionately elected house of government, ie our Oz upper house, which is also called the Senate. This allows a party to become established, and eventually become sufficiently popular to win seats in the individual electorates of the lower house.

    Its just possible a new party could win some House seats and work up from there, but almost certainly the new party would have to be populist left to do it. It would have to have a strong emotional pull, and that probably precludes a party of the right.

    We did have a right wing (sort of) populist who was similar to Ross Perot in her policies who created chaos in the Queensland state parliament by winning many seats about a decade ago. But the policies were as much lefty (agrarian protectivist) as righty and support collapsed over the next couple of elections as the leader showed her feet of clay (and the established parties mobilised).

    I won’t comment on the abortion aspect other than to suggest the ‘its a matter of individual conscience’ response may be about the only strategy the Republicans could adopt with a chance of working. It wouldn’t stop the Democrat spin but after a few hundred thousand ‘I believe it is a matter of individual conscience’ replies the electorate would get bored and the Dems would risk being seen hysterically obsessed. This would require a bit more party discipline than Republican candidates have shown this election.

    • suyts says:

      Among conservatives, there is quite an emotional reaction to this and last election. And, even before that. I think it would be easy to split the Repubs. But, most people know and understand the results would not be desirable.

      I should have left the abortion issue out of the post in that it is ancillary to the point I was trying to make. Still, one can’t discuss conservatives without bringing this up in this context. You’re probably correct in your assessment. If conservatives were to make such a statement, then the left would be seen as hysterically obsessed with killing the unborn. But, they won’t and can’t have that sort of party unity. The party is too diverse in their beliefs on this issue. Heck, I started a raised voiced argument in my home by bringing this up to two conservative ladies, today.

      In the US, the majority of Americans embrace conservative values, in general. It’s how the values get characterized and how the argument shifts is where they fall. It’s easy to blame it on the left and the LSM, but, conservatives have allowed it to be so. We’re fixing it, but it’s a long and arduous process.

      • cdquarles says:

        I understand the sentiment about abortion, James, but we must be rational adults dealing with reality. Abortion, like slavery in the 18th and 19th Century, is a big part of our cultural divide and problems. Political parties will have to deal with it, sad to say.

        • leftinbrooklyn says:

          Abortion is only political because the basis of the Liberal platform is relinquishing responsibility for your actions. Instead of accepting the consequences for not using (& purchasing your own) birth control, Liberalism has determined that it’s honorable to give a person a right to run from those consequences by terminating a life. A Right that can only be exercised thru the death of another individual.

          We fought a bloody and just war to end slavery, because it’s horrible for one person to have control over another. Even more horrible to end the life of another, simply because they are at the most fragile state of human development. Slavery was wrong, and was ended. Abortion, even more wrong, should never be a ‘Right’.

    • leftinbrooklyn says:

      ‘I believe it is a matter of individual conscience’

      Yes, of course it must be that, to those who are pro-abortion. The individual with the most to lose, the unborn child, must not even enter the conversation. That would force them to face the reality of what they are doing. If that early state of humanity was conscious enough to speak for itself, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  8. gator69 says:

    The day after the election, I saw a fellow skeptic write that we cannot allow the legalization of marijuana because it hurts the “cause” of conservative economics. I immediately reminded him that “causes” are what are killing us, and the truth. I then explained that the skeptical blogs he so enjoys, hurt the causes of marxist economics.

    As you stated above, Christians who get the message know that legislating morality, is not morality. We are supposed to be faced with temptations and adversity.

    What the “new” party needs to shout out clearly is that we are not here to run your lives, or your economy. We are here to give individuals, YOU the people, MORE liberty and not less.

    Romney was too nice a guy to unseat such a snake, when supported by legions of media morons.

  9. Jim Masterson says:

    >>
    gator69 says:
    November 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Romney was too nice a guy to unseat such a snake, when supported by legions of media morons.
    <<

    The “snake” symbol is a good facsimile. We’ve elected Voldemort. However, the media are not morons. They are very capable and devoted servants to the “cause.”

    Every “bad” event will be explained away as some anti-Obama-ite trying to interfere with the One’s attempts to fix everything.

    Jim

    • Me says:

      They’ll be in their fix once the money runs out. That’s why I said earlier “hope they don’t wake up from their matrix”, on the other post.

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