Diary

Regardless of Who Wins in November, a Conservative Third Party is Necessary

“Too little, too late.” That seems to be the tagline this year for every measure that tried to prevent the disastrous outcome of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump winning the White House. Support for Ted Cruz was hampered by hesitancy towards his conservatism. Libertarians had a good option, then went with Gary Johnson instead. Independent runs were threatened but never materialized until August. Free the Delegates. Dump Trump. Every viable option was either too little, too late, or both.

In times like these, there’s a tendency to want to give up. We lost. Trump/Clinton vanquished their threats from every angle in manners that should be considered fair and square when we consider the utterly corrupt sources. Now, conservatives are stuck with accepting the worst “Republican” nominee in history or allowing the worst Democrat in history to ascend to her version of manifest destiny. The will to fight is fading.

Then again, we’re conservatives. We’re patriots. Most importantly, we’re Americans. That potent combination of traits means one thing: we never give up. When you’re done rending your garments and crying yourself to sleep, it’s time to dust yourself off and get to work. Now more than ever, we need to form a movement that evolves into a new conservative party. The days of saving the GOP from itself are behind us. The temptation to fix things from within the Republican party must be pushed aside as the pipe dream that it is.

Speaking to a founder of the Tea Party movement the other day, I learned that they had to decide whether to create the movement that we see today or to form another third party. With the Libertarian, Constitution, and other third parties already in place, the decision was made to work from within the GOP and other parties to maintain unity and establish changes as a movement rather than a party. He lamented that had they known in 2009 what we would be seeing today, he would have wanted to form a new party. I explained that what the Tea Party has done could not have been done as an actual party. The timing wasn’t right. The GOP still held the illusion that it could be salvaged and pulled back to its conservative roots. The decision they made was the right one.

Now, we’re seeing a different dynamic. Regardless of who wins, the GOP will no longer be a party of conservatism, at least not the way that actual conservatives define it. Instead, the big government “Establishment” will retain its control of the party whether through Trump or through Paul Ryan. Plugging in Carly Fiorina at the RNC won’t fix it. Helping the Freedom Caucus expand cannot affect change to the degree that is necessary. The GOP has left us. They have co-opted conservatism, layered it in with big spending Republicanism and pseudo-conservative populism, and moved closer to the middle than it’s been in six decades. The Democrats are moving to the far left. The Republicans are right-leaning at best. There is now, for the first time in over a century, room for a third party.

Here are some key points to consider.

Vote Your Conscience

If you fear Hillary and aren’t as fearful of Trump, vote for him. If you like Gary Johnson, go for it. Evan McMullin might be your conscience vote. Darrel Castle has been getting some attention lately. For the 2016 Presidential election, there are no choices that are both viable and conservative. To that end, I’m not endorsing a vote for any of them. Down ballot, the need to keep the Democrats from controlling the Senate, possibly even the House, and stealing some Governors’ mansions terrifies me. Don’t get me started with the disasters that could be happening at the local level.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about the top of the ticket. This new movement and party will not be able to affect that election. We’re focused down-ballot for 2016 and 2018 as we build momentum to support a conservative for President in 2020. This year, as with every year, it’s important to vote your conscience.

Clinton Will Likely Win and the GOP Will Snap Back to “Sanity”

This was supposed to be the year that Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz stepped up and pushed Jeb Bush and Chris Christie out of the way, giving us a real conservative in the White House since 1988. Trump happened. Now, our opportunity has been lost. If Hillary wins, the RNC will use this debacle of an election to rally the troops towards their “sane” choices. It would be several election cycles before the GOP will allow a small government conservative to even sniff the nomination.

If Trump is able to pull out a victory, it will be even worse. There’s no question that he’s already hurting the party and will continue to do so if he wins. There’s very little question about how badly he’ll do as President. The only real question is whether he’ll kill the GOP or America first.

Either way, conservatism and America’s future can no longer rely on the GOP to do the right thing. We need a new party that rises meteorically and focuses on the solutions to our problems as they pop up. Over the next four years, big problems are going to pop up. Asking the GOP to fix them is no longer practical.

The Other Third Parties Need Rejuvenation

There are many fans of third parties here on RedState. I get it. I’ve looked closely at Johnson, Darrel Castle, Evan McMullin, and even some of the smaller party candidates. This election year gives us no viable options. This is still a two-party system and for better of for worse the other parties haven’t been able to ascend after all these years. That’s not to say that they are no good. They simply need a better strategy.

Ever since starting the discussion about a new third party, I’ve been bombarded with calls to support this party or that party instead of starting new. I’ve been told that I’d only be splintering the small number of conservatives they’ve been able to bring together. To this, I say that they have never been able to build up the velocity necessary to be relevant at a national level. The Constitution party, for example, has had a quarter century to bring conservatives together, yet they haven’t been able to get into six-digit membership numbers yet. I’m not insulting them. Things are different, now.

Today, we have two things going for us: technology and anger. The technology exists to spread the message and build a grassroots movement that can spread virally through social media. The anger exists and will be sustained after the election because the two-party system yielded a contest between Mr. Armageddon Candidate vs. Mrs. Apocalypse Candidate. With funding, infrastructure, and a modern expansion strategy, we can build a conservative movement that can transform into a full-blown third party once the movement reaches a tipping point.

Does that mean we dump the other third parties? Absolutely not! In fact, we should be combining with them when the time is right. However, trying to expand on a party that has been around for years is much harder in today’s world than taking advantage of a high-velocity strategy focused on something new. I’ve reached out to several conservative parties from the Libertarians all the way down to parties that may or may not exist anymore. When it’s time, we’ll work towards bringing them all together, but for now it’s important to start fresh. The window for launch is closing.

Working it Backwards

There are three pieces to the strategy that we want to try, all three of which are backwards compared to the normal party philosophies. First, we want to include the media in a leadership role rather than as reporting bystanders. We’ve seen strong politicians rise from the ranks of the media; Mike Pence is a good example. To reach the tipping point that we need will require direct participation from a policy perspective from conservative media types like Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, the writers at publications like RedState and the National Review, and others who study this stuff for a living.

Second, we need to build a party that retains membership in the GOP in certain states. With the primary system the way it is, we’ll be most effective if we’re not a jealous party. The Conservative party in New York is an example of one that loses power by maintaining strict party affiliation. By being in a state that has closed primaries, they’re forced to keep membership low. Conservatives need to participate in the GOP primaries… for now. We will accept party membership without official declaration to the election boards.

Third, we will build the platform from the bottom up rather than the top down. The current systems have the party platforms decided upon by committees at the top. That platform as a whole is then delivered for an up or down vote to delegates. This is the right system in an age without the Internet. but today we can do it better. Party members who have been active for a certain period of time will get platform votes. The platform will be decided upon piece-by-piece, giving party members the ability to state their cases through the party’s website about why they believe background checks for gun purchases are a bad idea, for example. Options will be given for a policy “range” so we can have a binding document for candidates we either run directly or otherwise support.

Candidates will have their support and campaign funding tied directly to their promises and records as it relates to the platform. Similar to the grading systems used by sites like Conservative Review, we’ll allow our candidates to agree to individual components of the platform. For the portions of the platform that they oppose, they’ll be required to state their perspectives with memos of dissent. Of course, too many dissenting views and they will no longer receive our support nor our votes, but flexibility must be in place. The parties that are the most rigid are the ones that have the fewest members, but having a meaningless platform is equally ineffective.

A Movement that Becomes a Party

At The New Americana, we’re laying the groundwork for a new conservative party to become a reality. We’ve accumulated thousands of people ready to get involved. We need more. The movement is starting. A new party will form from it when the time is right. We have to start now, though. Waiting for the results of the election will not change the direction needed to save the country. Now’s not the time to fret. It’s the time to fight.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore.