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Is it time for a REAL third party?

October 14, 2013

Apparently Sean Hannity brought up that old conservative trope – that we need a conservative third party – today on his radio show.

It’s not a new idea, but it may be that this time it’s a good one. In the past, a third party has served as spoiler in Presidential elections – especially in the 1992 election, when Ross Perot received almost 19% of the vote. According to this interactive map, practically every state won by Bill Clinton would not have been, had Perot’s votes gone to George W. Bush instead.

So maybe all of Perot’s votes would not have gone to Bush. (Although I think the majority of them would have.) Still, it would have been a different election, if for no reason other than eliminating the distraction from the messages of the two main parties.

If a third party was created before the 2016 Presidential election, or if the Tea Party folks decided to co-op the standing US Conservative Party, the Republican Party would have exactly zero chance of winning the White House – and if that new party got involved in Congressional elections, they could lose the majority in the House as well.

I think the leadership of the GOP knows this. I think they believe there isn’t a chance of such a thing happening, for a couple of reasons. First, I think they arrogantly believe there is really no way the people in the Tea Parties around the country could ever organize at that level. Second, I think they believe that the Tea Party voters will be there to vote Republican because they for sure would never vote Democrat.

The Democrats were fairly confident for years than their more conservative voters, especially those in the South, would never vote Republican – then came Ronald Reagan. He resonated with a whole segment of the Democratic Party, especially those who were concerned about the Cold War. (For you youngsters, there used to be a bear in the woods.)

I won’t say at this moment that Ted Cruz is that guy, but he is a principled conservative who is not afraid to defy the Republican Senate leadership – and he has a few years to fine-tune his message.

Sarah Palin seems a bit more of a stretch, but she won’t go away. By the time the next Presidential Election comes around, the character assassinations from 2008 will be ancient history. She has shown herself to be more than just a one-term governor from Alaska. She continues to travel the country, speaking to all kinds of groups. Last weekend she, Cruz, Senator Mike Lee and others were involved in the citizen reopening of the Washington Mall…when the group picked up the barricades and dropped them in front of the White House.

And Sarah is a household word, and pretty darned charismatic, in a very unaffected way.

So Hannity may be right. I can’t see a presidential election won by a third party in 2016, not at this moment, but I also think the establishment Republicans, should they continue to malign the Tea Party, could easily make themselves the minority party for generations to come.

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