With the news coming out of DC that many “conservatives” in Congress are no longer willing to fight to repeal ObamaCare and the recent compromise on the “fiscal cliff,” I have just about given up on the GOP. The Republican Party controls the purse that funds the Federal government, but one would never know that from watching their actions. Moreover, after watching over 30 tea party-supported freshmen sell out on the debt limit and other fiscal issues, I am just not sure we can ever reform the GOP. It may be time to create a conservative third party.
Efforts to create a conservative third party have never been successful; the biggest obstacle to such an effort is the fear conservatives have that by going third party, it will weaken the GOP and thus allow more Democrats to win. And that’s a legitimate fear. And that is why all the third parties that exist today end up with a few percentage points every election and have zero impact. However, here’s an idea that addresses this issue.
For a third party to be effective, millions of voters need to join it, become active, recruit others, and support its candidates. Moreover, millions of dollars need to be raised to market the party and fight for ballot access. I propose that a website be set up that collects pledges. By that, I mean a person would log on, register himself, and then electronically sign a “pledge” that he will vote for a 3rd party when the party officially launches.
The when part is the key to this effort. When the number of pledges reaches, say, thirty million voters, only then does the party launch and actually field candidates. The same kind of tactic could be used to raise money for the party. When contribution pledges reaches say, $40 million dollars, the party launches. No more feeble third parties that get 1% of the vote. The party only launches when it has enough voters and money to be a serious electoral player.
So when the appropriate number of pledged voters and pledged donations is reached, the third party swings into action. This guarantees that the party will be a viable force from the first day it launches.
Once it launches and other voters see that it is a viable party, many more voters will pile on, and the new party will do to the GOP what the GOP did to the Whig Party 150 years ago. Such an effort may take years to get to the viable stage, but even the effort to build a viable third party may be beneficial to the conservative movement. It will send a strong message to the Republican Party that if they continue its liberal drift, it will be replaced. Perhaps such an effort will even save the GOP.
There is also the possibility that such an effort could first be accomplished on a state level just to see if such a model would actually work. If it works, then go national.
However, it will not be enough to create a third party and hope that millions of constitutionalists will automatically join it. Some thinking will need to go into creating a party platform. Voters will not break from the GOP unless the new third party has a compelling platform that will unite conservatives, libertarians, the Christian Right, and the Tea Party movement. These groups all have their differences but they all agree on dozens of principles such as fidelity to the Constitution, 2nd amendment rights, elimination of abortion funding, States rights, free enterprise, low taxes, etc. And the founding platform of the new party should focus on these uniting principles.
The internet has been used to unite millions of people for all kinds of causes. Why can’t it be used to build the infrastructure of a new third party?
Photo credit: Occupy* Posters (Creative Commons)