Guest Submission by Gene Brown
Starting a third political party has reached a new level of intensity. The most compelling reason for this development in American politics is the belief that there is not much difference between the two major parties.
This is a band wagon that I have empathy with. We have seen clear evidence recently that the leadership of both parties perceive themselves as above their constituents, not representative of them. This revelation alone is enough to warrant new leadership, or even a new party.
Unfortunately, a quick glance at history will show that the success of any third party has been minimal at best. The best showing of any third party candidate was Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, and he only garnered 27% support. In my life time, the most notable third party candidates were: George Wallace in 1968 and H. Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. Their support never exceeded 19%.*
Perhaps the best known and perennial third party is the Libertarian Party. Since their formation in 1971, they have never elected a President, a federal Senator, or a federal Congressman. The Libertarian Party has impacted the national debate on a number of issues; however, they have not changed the dynamics of the leadership in either major party.
Logically and historically, when there is a large enough following for a particular issue sufficient to create a new party, one or both of the major parties will adopt that issue. When that issue is subsumed, the newly-created third party disappears.
I am convinced there is a better solution. Conservatives should take over one of the major parties. The midterm elections of 2010 have demonstrated the feasibility of this proposal.
Representative Mike Castle in Delaware and Senator Bob Bennett in Utah both lost in primaries. Democrat Representatives Bob Etheridge of North Carolina and Jim Oberstar of Minnesota both lost their long-held congressional seats to gras root Tea Party candidates.
Sizeable inroads into the Republican Party have already been made by the Tea Party movement. Now that we have our foot in the door, we need to leverage that advantage into a full-scale breach.
I believe that the hard work and efforts of these third party proponents would be better served placing their candidates in, and winning Republican primaries. Granted, we won’t win every race, but we will win many of them and probably the White House.
The Libertarian Party has been toiling in the wilderness for the past 40 years. We inherited a nation of limited government and maximum freedom. I am not sure that we can spare another 40 years waiting for another third party to find its legs.
Ruling-class Republicans have been asleep or downright contributory to the perilous direction America is heading.
We rattled their cages in 2010! We can fire a bunch more in 2012! We can right this ship of state!
That’s my nickel
*ThisNation.com: “What is the history of ‘third parties’ in the United States.”